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EXALLIEVI NEWSFLASH YEAR 6 - ISSUE 27 - CHRISTMAS 2017

Religious and Social magazine of the World Confederation of Ex-students of Don Bosco English Edition

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WORLD CONFEDERATION OF THE PAST PUPILS OF DON BOSCO

THE VOICE OF THE RECTOR MAJOR OPEN-HEARTED MICHAL HORT INVITES YOU TO... DREAM

MERRY CHRISTMAS! 22

MALTA: PAST PUPILS TO OPEN A MARVELLI RESIDENCE FOR HOMELESS YOUTH

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RAÙL VÁSQUEZ DIÉGUEZ TESTIMONY OF A GUATEMALAN PAST PUPIL


THE VOICE OF THE RECTOR MAJOR

Christmas just like Don Bosco’s Throughout the entire world, I have seen Salesians who defend children and young people from the many Herods of our day and who continue to dream, guided by the angels, just like Don Bosco. Never before had the good citizens of Turin seen such a spectacle as they did in 1842. Along the elegant streets of Turin’s center city, a group of boys were singing a Christmas hymn and a priest was directing them! The music was a bit unsophisticated, but those boys sang it with so much love that it moved all who heard it. Don Bosco had no place to gather the boys to practice the song, so they practiced right in the streets – those streets that the boys knew so well. The hymn had even been written on a windowsill. Those boys lived their Christmas walking, just like Jesus’ parents when they set out on a journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem. There they experienced what it means to live in a foreign land: there was no room for them in the inn. The doors of the people's homes were shut to them.

Mary and Joseph share the fate of many refugees and foreign workers who seek a home and are turned away, today, just like 2,000 years ago. Don Bosco's boys, too, were looking for a place where they would find protection so they could grow, far away from all perils. Don Bosco searched with them and committed his very life to find it. During my visits to the Salesians around the world, I have encountered many children and young people who find a home and protection in the arms and the affection of Don Bosco's sons. I have also seen children – boys and girls – all over the world singing happily together. Jesus was born in a stable. Men did not welcome him; the humble animals shared their shelter with him. Don Bosco began his work in a dirty and broken-down shed. With Jesus’ birth, the stable was filled with light – warm and gentle light – and all that was poor and despised became precious. A manger for animals became the throne of the Most High.

The ramshackle Pinardi shed would have discouraged anyone. Don Giovanni Battista Francesia testified: «When Don Bosco visited that place for the first time, the place which had to serve for his Oratory, he had to pay attention lest he crack his skull because on one side the shed was only a meter high. For a floor, there was bare ground, and when it rained, the water came in from every side. Don Bosco felt huge rats running between his feet, and over his head swooped bats». But to Don Bosco, this was the most beautiful place in the whole world: «I ran right back to my boys. I gathered them round me and began to shout in a loud voice, ‘Great news, my sons! We’ve got a place for our Oratory, a more reliable one than we’ve had till now. We’ll have a church, a sacristy, classrooms, and a place to play. Sunday, next Sunday, we’ll go to our new Oratory, which is over there in Pinardi’s house.’ And I pointed the place out to them. Wild enthusiasm greeted this announcement. Some boys ran around shouting and jumping for joy; some stood stock still; some raised their voices, I would say, to yelling and screaming» (Memoirs of the Oratory of St. Francis de Sales [1989], p. 257). Why John Bosco dreamt. The Christmas angel appeared in a different way in the Gospel of Matthew. Here there was no splendor surrounding the Holy Birth. The angel appeared to Joseph in a dream. It was he who commanded him in God's name to take care of that Baby. The angel appeared to him at other times in dreams also. Joseph did exactly as he was told, right up till the time when Mary’s Son would reach the age when no one could make a further attempt on his life.

In dreams, Don Bosco was invited to care for the boys and young men, to help them grow, with affection and goodness, lest any Herod threaten them any longer. Throughout the entire world, I have seen Salesians who defend children and young people from the many Herods of our day and who continue to dream, guided by the angels, just like Don Bosco. “Do as the Shepherds Did” I will allow Don Bosco himself to conclude my Christmas wishes. In the Good Night that preceded one of the Christmas novenas at the Ora-

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tory, he said: «Tomorrow begins the Christmas novena. I recommend two things to you for these days. Call Baby Jesus to mind often; recall the love that He brings you and the proofs that He has given you of His Love - to the point of dying for you. When you get up in the morning immediately at the sound of the bell, and feel the cold, recall to mind Baby Jesus, who trembled from the cold, there on the hay. Throughout the day, encourage each other to study your lessons well, to do your work well, and to stay attentive in school out of love for Jesus. Do not forget that Jesus advanced in wisdom, in age, and in grace before God and men. Above all, for love of Jesus, watch that you do not fall into any sin that could disgust Him. Do as the shepherds of Bethlehem did: go often to visit Him. We envy those shepherds who went to the stable in Bethlehem, who saw Him as a newborn babe, who kissed His little hand, and who offered Him their gifts. How very blessed those shepherds were, we say! Yet, we have nothing to envy because that same blessing is also ours. That same Jesus, who was visited by the shepherds in the stable, is found here in our tabernacle. The only difference rests in this: that the shepherds saw Him with their eyes of flesh; we see Him only with the eyes of faith. There is nothing that we can do that would be more pleasing to Him than to go often to visit Him. How shall we go visit Him? First of all, with frequent Communion. Another way is to go every now and then into church during the day, perhaps just for a minute». Wherever there is a Salesian work, I have seen churches, some small and some large, but every one of them with an image of Mary with Baby Jesus in her arms – just as it was in Bethlehem 2,000 years ago.come a Betlemme duemila anni fa. Fr. Ángel Fernández Artime Rector Major

THE CHRISTMAS SONG OF SAN GIOVANNI BOSCO

To enliven the meetings with his children waiting for Christmas Don Bosco wrote a poem dedicated to the Child Jesus and he put it into music. Ah! You sing in the sound of joy, Ah! You sing in the sound of love. O faithful, the tender was born Our God Salvator. Oh how bright every star shines. The moon looks bright and beautiful and the darkness ripped through the veil. Seraphic ghosts that heaven forbid Gridan with jubilation: be peace on earth! Others answer: both glory in heaven Come, come, or beloved peace, In our hearts to rest. Or child in our midst We want to keep you!

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Dear students and friends of Don Bosco,

GREETINGS FROM THE PRESIDENTE

When Christmas comes we remember the gift of Jesus in coming to be born in our world. It is the greatest gift of love. God's altruistic gift. For me this reality, when God gives us his son and knows that Jesus will die on earth to redeem our sins, represents a true and not limited love project. In our Salesian family we have a similar reality in Don Bosco. We have received from Him so much. He too decided to give everything in his life to us, to the young, to the poor, disadvantaged; and nothing has ever wanted in return. I invite you to contemplate these two signs of love. For Christmas we receive many gifts, we wish each other many blessings, but we have already received the greatest blessing. With the joy that comes from this wonderful reality I invite you also to contemplate how much and how we ourselves can be gifts of love for our families, our friends, but also for the young, especially the most unfortunate, orphans and poor. The joy of the greatest gift - the Son of God - is only true if we share it with others. Best wishes to all for a Holy Christmas and a Happy New Year 2018 Michal Hort

WORLD DELEGATE

My dear Friends,

Born for the most needy little ones

It is Christmas time. It is the feast of the little ones. The more you give to those whom none bothers about, the poorest of the poor and the needy, the more you express the difference, the fundamental reason for which Jesus was born. • The Lord has always given himself to little ones; he is on the side of the humble, he hears the prayer of the poor. Littleness and humility attract him in an irresistible way. • God chose insignificant Nazareth, and not a great and rich capital; he chose little Mary and not the daughter of a great commander. He chose Joseph the carpenter, and not an important man of affairs. This is the logic that runs through Scripture, from the beginning to the end. • Pronouncing her "yes," Mary denied herself, and decided to let God act. She teaches us to open ourselves to the action of God. • God’s visit to earth took place in an animal shelter with no attendants present and no place to lay the newborn except a manger. Such is the mystery of Christmas. I wish all of you – my dear delegates, presidents and council members and all other members of the Past Pupil Federations - a most blessed and joyful Christmas, in the company of our Blessed Mother who alone can teach us how to reach out with love to the “little ones” as Don Bosco our Father did. May the spirit of Christmas – joy, love, appreciation for one another especially the little and needy ones, and gratitude for all His blessings as past pupils of Don Bosco - abide in us and in our families at Christmas and always! God bless you and your families! Wishing you all a Grace-filled Christmas and a Spirit-filled New Year 2018. With affectionate wishes, Fr. Jayapalan Raphael Sdb World Delegate for Past Pupils Associat

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EDITORIAL Dear Friends and Friends,

whenever we find ourselves to close Newsflash we realize that the number of pages should be tripled, to be able to contain all the ideas and news that come, to be able to give testimony of what happens in our world of past pupils. The style of a magazine, the way it is presented, the manner in which it is perceived before it is read, is an important factor in communication. It is therefore necessary to establish a correct style and to make it coherent. A magazine lives and has guarantees of continuity if it has a good editorial organization. Together we are efficient and important; the atmosphere and the family tone desired by Don Bosco make the collaboration beautiful.

Perhaps someone has already noticed it without completely opening the magazine: Newsflash is changing. First of all, they change some aspects of the layout, trying to give more "breath" to the articles, but it's not all there. The contents are also increased and we have several new contributors and topics. A magazine has to be a show, it does not have to bore... The way I order information and make it meet my reader, must be a surprise, I do not say one page different from the other, but one does not have to see what will happen later, in such a way that the attention always remains alive. You cannot walk forward with your eyes turned back. Any publication is the result of teamwork. Everyone is important and they do an important job.

What, as a journalist, is more enjoyable is to associate the activity with a cultural operation, an instrument that serves the civil growth of the community. It's not cheap. In many cases it is desirable to be "preventive": not wait but anticipate, not respond but to propose, not to defend but to promote. Often the Catholic newspaper is considered as a chair of morals. The journalistic discourse is not a preaching, it is the exposition of a fact. As already noted by Louis XIV: «Those who are ill-informed cannot help but think badly». Those who communicate must be in step with the times. In the Salesian Family We Past Pupils represent a substantial part and for this we must work with ever greater vigor. We must not sell, but convince. Do not look for pleasure, but spread a message. «I send the Salesian Bulletin to those who want it and to those who do not want it» said Don Bosco.

It is Christmas! A recurrence that certainly gives joy, because it recalls the day when the greatest gift was given to humanity, salvation; a message that is given to us by the protagonist: Jesus! Best wishes for a peaceful Christmas to all the Past Pupils and for a happy and constructive 2018. Pierluigi Lazzarini

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E XECUTIVE C OUNCIL

Malta – Executive Council of Don Bosco Past Pupils World Confederation

Sliema, Malta - September 2017

The Executive Council of the World Confederation of the Past Pupils of Don Bosco met in Malta from 15 to 17 September.

Michal Hort, World President, Ángel Gudiña, GEX Vice President, Bryan Magro, Treasurer, Peter Kovac, Assistant, Fr Raphael Jayaplan SDB, Delegate of the Salesians, discussed various themes and developments pertaining to Ex-pupils and friends of Don Bosco in the world.

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E UROBOSCO

France - Eurobosco 2017 Past Pupils of Don Bosco for the Family (ANS - Samoens)

Four days to discuss Visions, Challenges and Ideas of Don Bosco's Past Pupils for their Future: this was the XII edition of "Eurobosco", the European congress dedicated to all the past pupils of the Salesian institutes of the Old Continent. Held from 12 to 15 October in Samoens, France, it took place at one of the holiday villages built by the French Past Pupils as part of their social projects.

Four years after the previous edition in Malta - on the theme of Identity and Mission of the Salesian Past Pupil – this year's edition gathered over 65 participants from 12 European countries - including a past pupil from Chile - to reflect and share experiences on the theme of family, the motto: "Good Christians in the Family and Honest Citizens for the Family".

red by the Salesian Fr Francesc Riu, who recently published work on the subject; on the second day, the theme of "honest citizens for the family" was thoroughly discussed, thanks to Anna Zaborska, Slovakian Euro-Parliamentarian, responsible for the family policies of the Intergroup of the European Parliament; Antoine Renard, President of the European Federation of Catholic Family Organizations (FAFCE); and Laurent Gregoire, President of the French Confederation of the Associations of Past Pupils of the Catholic Schools. Other special moments of interest were those where good practice in the family

were presented, offering insights from different perspectives in a European context, such as, for example, the "Parodi Family" in Italy, and Spain's "Hogares Don Bosco".

Throughout the event, meetings were held in the traditional atmosphere of Salesian sharing and joy, with participants taking part in moments for reflection, celebration and spirituality.

Significant was the visit to the Basilica of the Visitation of Annecy, where the relic of Saint Francis of Sales is kept.

The next Eurobosco will be held in Valdocco in 2020.

Taking part in the event were some of the top members of the Association of Past Pupils: the President, Michal Hort; Councilor for Europe, Fernando Nuñez; Councilor for Formation and Family, Maurizio Bruni; Vice-President of Young Past Pupils (GEX), Angel Gudiña; World Delegate of Salesians for Past Pupils, Fr Raphael Jayapalan. On the first day, work sessions focused on the apostolic exhortation "Amoris Laetitia" from a Salesian perspective, prepa-

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I NTERVIEW WITH THE P RESIDENT

Open-hearted MICHAL HORT invites you to... dream At first sight you seem a concrete and rational man. Could you introduce yourself to our readers?

«I am a son educated by father and mother, both past pupils, who taught me how in life one must be altruistic and serve others. They taught me to be responsible.

I attended the high school of the Salesians together with college, where is the program, fixed from six in the morning to ten in the evening, that forces you to be concrete and rational. Then I continued my

studies at the University in Bologna.

Back home (having gained experience abroad that at the time was a valued bonus) I started to be an entrepreneur.

Today I run my own company of about 50 people, which is developed in three States. There are 50 families to take care of. So you must be rational».

In the Salesian Family the Past Pupils represent a substantial part. How do you evaluate the current vitality of Past

Pupils in the world and the different realities?

«Like a sleeping giant who is waking up little by little. Europe is to be saved, Africa to be re-discovered, Latin America and Asia to be addressed and North America to be defined.

The paradox is that other groups of the Christian Family often understand us better than the same Past Pupils; there is a lot to work on the identity of the Past Pupil.» How is the realization of the Programming that you have conceived with the World Council of the Confederation going? «Good, but slow. You can have as many beautiful ideas as you want but as long as people do not know it, it's hard to keep going.

That's why we are putting all our strength into spreading our ideas, our Strategic Plan and our Key Projects».

It is said that in the Church it takes more secularism. Do not you think that there is too much clericalism in the laity today?

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I NTERVIEW WITH THE P RESIDENT The President of the Past Pupils of Don Bosco, Michal Hort, is of Slovak nationality. Born on 12 October 1977; married to Martina Hortova with whom she has three children. Graduated from the Salesian Liceo of Šaštín (1995), he studied Political Sciences and International Relations at the University of Bologna (1996-2001). Subsequently, he studied international economic relations at the University of Economics in Bratislava (20012006). As a student he has held various roles: Vice-President of the Association of Slovenian Past Pupils; Promoter of the "Past Pupils Trading Platform". He was a member of the Executive Committee of the Slovak Association for International Relations.

No, I think in a different way. Today there is too much secularism among the priests. I mean that they devote too much time of the day to dealing with jobs and activities that they can not do, that have not studied and that takes away too many psychic and physical forces. The priest has studied and has his vocation for souls.

If he has to spend too much time on accounting, building maintenance, administrative management, it is obvious that he has no time for what he was trained and called by God.

other hand, however, it is stimulating, because I can fully use the talents and gifts I have received from God and see that through prayer, things move forward and progress».

is a program of action. I wish to realize that using personal skills and knowledge at the service of others, and especially of the Salesian Family, is the right way to reach heaven».

«I wish to discover that being "honest citizens and good Christians" is the plan of life. I wish to understand that "Being the salt of the earth and the light of the world"

«Understanding that Don Bosco has formed us is a thought that frees. Trying to follow it is the solution of many uncertainties. Dreaming like him is a guarantee of success... I invite all the Past Pupils to dream».

What do you wish to say to Past Pupils and Past Pupils who will read this interview?

Express a note of hope, to conclude ...

It is best to leave these things to the laymen, who have studied them and are professionals.

This is why we often say that Past Pupils want to be a "Group of Service and Management"».

Somewhat confidently: is it difficult to make the President of the World Confederation of Past Pupils? «Yes, it is. As it is not a job you can devote to full time. Now I understand what my personal coach meant in 2015 (when I was elected) in advising me: "Take the family and move for 2 years to Rome ...". On the

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A NIMATION VISIT

Laos

First animation visit

Vientiane, Laos, 1 September 2017

After the visit to Thailand, Mr. Angel Gudiña (World Vice-President of GEX) and Mr. Alberto Piedade (Councilor of GEX for Asia) traveled to Vientiane through the border between Thailand and Laos (Friendship Bridge). They received a warm welcome by Fr. Patrizio Maccioni, SDB together with the current President of Past Pupils of Don

Bosco, Mr. Bounpithak and one of teachers from Don Bosco Vocational Training Center in Laos, Mr. Sida Saiphiavong.

Salesians were showing us the city of Vientiane around whilst also introducing Mr. Gudiña and Mr. Piedade to two of our young past pupils of Don Bosco, Mr. Nai Khaiy Zae Tern (who has been running his own workshop) then we moved to visit Mr.

Thanouthong Sikhamlay (a past pupil who is running his own water filtering and gallon bottles for sales and delivery) - Mr. Sikhamlay's business is growing from day to day. Belows are some photos taken on the visits.

Then, we were taken to visit also FMA Vocation training center - sewing section for girls before visiting the Don Bosco Vocational Training Center.

In the DB Training Center, Fr. Maccioni was introducing different departments of mechanics for motorcycle, melding and electrical. Some of our students are boarders and the teachers are mostly past pupils from the Don Bosco Center itself.

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For the meeting with the past pupils was organized to occur on 1st September at 6.30pm in the center; attended by around 20-25 past pupils including Mr. Zae Tern and Mr. Sikhamlay. Mr. Gudiña and Mr. Piedade delivered several presentations on: 1) World Confederation, 2) Estatute and 3) How to Establish a Local Union to the past pupils with the


A NIMATION VISIT

assistance from Fr. Maccioni with the translation.

The reality of past pupils association is quite young and not-yet well established. However, they showed a firm will and enthusiasm to continue their friendship and mutual bonds as Bosconians.

The meeting ended with handover of souvenirs and Laos. Don Bosco Past pupils (Bosconians) will be in touch through Fr. Maccioni with the Asia - Oceania World Councilor regarding the progress of local association.

The Don Bosco Vocation Training Center in Laos started in 2004 in a very humble way through the initiative of Bangkok Don Bosco Technical School past pupils with the assistance of Fr. Tito Pedron (former provincial of THA).

Until now more than 1000 students graduate different and contribute to the development of Lao society.

Alberto Sequeira Alves Piedade, GEX

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R EGIONS

Japan

Moving on with the Young Past Pupils

Tokyo, Japan, 14 October 2017

The Federation of Don Bosco Alumni, chaired by President Mr. Hiroshi Yoshida in the presence of SDB Provincial Fr. Mario Yamanouchi held the annual board meeting (October 14) in Shibuya, Tokyo.

25 Past Pupils of Don Bosco from 5 Salesian Schools in Japan, President of Past Pupils of Mary Help of Christians (Unione Japan: Ms. Soh Eiko), SDB Provincial, Provincial Delegate for DB Alumni (Fr. Suzuki Masao), Youth Ministry Delegate (Fr. Shin Mishima), and Delegate for the SYM Japan (Fr. Urata Shinjiro) attended. This time, the Federation has produced a

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leaflet of fundraising from the Past Pupils. And before the meeting, the 5 school alumni associations had elected 16 younger Past Pupils including me in advance as the members of the Working Team (WT), which will consider the sustainability and development of the Federation. President Yoshida stressed, ÂŤIt is very important for this Federation to invite more past pupils, especially younger members and to adopt their new opinions for activating the association for the Future YouthÂť So in the latter part of the meeting, Mr. Yoshida gave plenty time to the Working Team members, and the younger past pu-

pils discussed sincerely the challenges which the Federation is facing now. They will enthusiastically undertake the task of finding good answers on the especially important challenges below:

1. Publicity (Social Communication) 2. Asia-Oceania Congress in Japan 2020 3. Finance and Incorporation

Though there were some newcomers on the federation meeting, the members of Working Team immediately got sincerely in touch with each other. Each team has a leader and the Secretariats of the Federation (Mr. Tateishi Mitsuhiro and Chihiro Okawa) were appointed as Captains of the Working Teams (WT).


R EGIONS

The WT members are expected to have face-to-face or online meetings frequently for the brighter future in collaboration with each school Alumni association.

After the meeting, a get-together party was held. The representatives of 5 associations talked about the news of their own school alumni. Then Fr. Mishima and Fr. Urata and me introduced the activities of SDB Youth Ministry in Japan, and called for more cooperation on the Salesian Movements for the Youth.

Finally, Fr. Suzuki Masao had a Good Night Talk. For the first Japanese Christians, "Gotaisetsu" meant Love. Fr. Suzuki emphasized the value of "Gotaisetsu", and called out to us to love the youth and children more as an important part of one big Salesian Family. Mr. Okawa Chihiro, EXDB

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R EGIONS

India

Meeting of National Federation of Past Pupils

Guwahati, India - October 27, 2017 About 60 delegates from the India's National Federation of Past Pupils of Don Bosco met on Friday, 27 October, at the Don Bosco Institute in Guwahati for a meeting featuring discussions and deliberations on organizational issues regarding operating procedures and Federation projects. The meeting was also attended by the National Delegate for Past Pupils, Fr Albert Johnson, and the President of the Federation, Mr. Khetan Gala. The highlight of the meet was the participation from all the 11 Provinces of India (first time), in all 39 members(including the V.P.Gex Members) attended the meeting. In keeping with the call given by the World President to actively involve and promote the V.P.Gex Members, it was the first time that they were invited to attend the NCM.

Also inspiring was the special presence of the World Delegate Rev.Fr.Raphael Jayapalan.

The NCM started with the welcome address by Fr.Januarius the Provincial Delegate of Guwahati Province, followed by the message of Fr.Maria Arokiam (read by the 14

national delegate), the message from Fr.Johnson (Director,D.B.I) and the address by Fr.Albert Johnson (national delegate).

The report of the recent visit of the National President and the National Delegate to the Shillong Province was then presented to the council by the Provincial Secretary Mr.Valerian Pakma, the highlight being the interaction of the National team with over 1400 class 10, 11 & 12 students, motivating them to join the Past Pupils movement once they pass out from the institutions.

In the business sessions the minutes of the last NCM were read and passed, so also the accounts were presented to the council and passed. There was a brief discus-

sion on the name to be adopted as appealed by the World President, it should be Past Pupils of Don Bosco and not Alumni, Fr.Jayapalan also guided the council to follow this name. Also a report of the V.P.Gex movement in India was presented by Mr.Bikash Agarwal along with a vision statement. This was followed by the soft launch of the dynamic National website (www.dbppinf.org). Another important session was the amendments to the statutes.

Keeping in mind the Indian Fabric and the current times, it was a long felt need to make some amendments to the statutes. It was over a year that this exercise had


R EGIONS

been undertaken by the Indian National Federation by asking for inputs and suggestions from all the provinces across India. The amendments were passed by the council and would be forwarded to the World Confederation for its approval after which they would be implemented. This was followed by a session on the discussion of the problems faced by the various provinces.

The planning for the hosting of the National Congress in 2018 was also undertaken. It was suggested to target a participation of around 350 delegates from the various provinces of India. The participation of the spouses of the Past Pupils would also be encouraged for this National Congress. This was followed by a

session on the Financial Planning of the National Federation. There were also the animation session’s conducted by the World Delegate Fr.Raphael Jayapalan and by the National Delegate Fr.Albert Johnson. The Province reports of the various provinces were presented to the council.

The NCM ended with the Action Plan being given to the council by the National President Mr.Ketan Gala as follows:

1) Timely inputs by the provinces for the National Website. With regards to this requesting all the provinces to kindly forward the names along with the photographs of the provincial team, a brief history of the province and the sta-

tistics of the units and the life members.

2) Promote V.P.Gex movement at all levels. 3) To ensure that Database collection is done at Province as well as Unit Levels.

4) Animation of the Local Delegates by the Provincial Delegate.

5) The activity “A MILLION PLEDGES” regarding Organ Donation to be taken up PAN INDIA by all the provinces.

6) Aleberto Marvelli Awards to be launched at the National Congress. Ketan Gala (National President)

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R EGIONS

Argentina

Letter from the President Dear Salesian Past Pupils

Paraná, 24 October 2017

Receive a cordial greeting and in this contact I would like to leave you a thought of Don Bosco, tell you about a meeting and announce a future meeting.

Don Bosco advised to avoid criticism and murmuring. He affirmed: «When I can speak well, I do it, when I have to speak badly, I close» (Biographical Memoirs, Volume III, page 246). «He expressed the painful impression when he heard some criticism, and urged everyone to never speak ill of anyone, even less by members of the clergy or a religious order, as contrary to charity and always leaves a bad impression in those who have a little judgment» (MBe II 84).

On Saturday, October 7, at the Don Bosco school in San Juan, the Zonal Encounter for Past Pupils was held. Past Pupils of Rodeo del Medio (Mendoza), Cordoba (Pius X, Dominic Savio, Villada), Santa Fe, Paraná and San Juan took part.

The meeting had two profound moments of enlightenment by the Salesians Abel Iglesias Cortina on "Identità dell'Exalunno" and Orlando Sánchez on "Salesian Family"; the day ended with a workshop on the National and International Statutes of the Exalunni with references to the 2018 National Congress and the JEX Pablo Ríos, addressing the theme of "Patios for the Exalunni". Among the participants there were 6 JEX.

It was a day when it was possible to take advantage of the different cases where the content was clear and simple, allowing the debate, the contributions of ideas and proposals to continue working in each local center. This experience has been much appreciated because of the need to

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create connections for the Congress next year, but also to strengthen the work and add even more commitment as Past Pupils in the same line as the one held two months ago in Mar del Plata. At noon a rosary was recited recalling the day of the Virgin of the Rosary and the Eucharist was celebrated in the evening.

A very big thank you to all the project managers who disseminated and financially supported Past Pupils in order to be present at the meeting in the city of San Juan, where local students provided all the logistics and meals. Thanks so much!

With love. Víctor L.M. centurion

LATIN AMERICAN CONGRESS OF EX-ALUNNI / AND DON BOSCO (CONGRELAT), in the city of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic from 19 to 22 April, 2018. For further information write to e-mail: congrelatsantodomingo2018@gmail.com


N EWS

South Korea

An ordinary lunch break in a Salesian School (ANS – Gwangju)

As in every Don Bosco School, lunch time is the most precious time for the accompaniment of the young - being present among students as a father, an older brother and a friend. Even at the “Salesian Junior & Senior High School” in Gwangju, Korea, that has just recently celebrated its 60th anniversary, this 'golden time' with youngsters is both lively and extremely interesting.

On the large campus immersed in the Il Gog Dong Valley, every day from Monday to Friday, almost 1400 students (grade 612) experience the heart of Don Bosco in their daily lives.

In spite of South Korea's highly competitive educational system, whose main focus is the university admittance exam in November, the school's nine Salesians - Rector Fr Mike Chang, 6 Salesian priests, 1

coadjutor and two trainees - and more than 100 lay mission partners, including 15 Don Bosco Alumni and Salesian Cooperators, are always trying their best to foster the human(e) growth of its young.

Do you know K-Pop, Korea Pop? Here, every Friday at lunch, in the Salesian High School, we have concerts by Salesian Pop Stars (S-Pop) with songs that are sometimes improvised, other times well-prepared, and they are accompanied by dances and other games.

All 1400 students are happy to contribute, as are the Spiritual coordinators, or Cathechists, the young Salesian interns, and a number of teachers, all at the very center of this meaningful time together.

Furthermore, the family spirit is expressed on campus in hundreds of different ways – origami, for example, in the Catechist room, or in the dialogue between tea-

chers and students during their campus walks or before the reproduction of the Grotto of Our Lady, or while strolling around the green hills – the school campus is extremely clean and tidy -, playing different table games, or sports such as football or basketball.

«Yes, for us Salesians wasting time with young people, listening to their hearts during breaks is the best way to their hearts. In these moments together, our students feel they are really loved and thus our education is able to be truly Salesian». «We are grateful to many generations of Salesians, teachers, lay mission partners and past pupils, all of whom, for over sixty years, have contributed to this wonderful Salesian environment on the outskirts of Gwangju!».. Fr. Joseph Sin Minsoo, SDB Source: AustraLasia

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Portugal

Renewing to renew

Fรกtima, Portugal

Renewing to renew, a password. Created a WG (Working Group) promoter of a serious recovery of the Local Unions and of the National Federation of Portuguese Past Pupils. Taking advantage of the opportunity of the Salesian Family meeting in Fรกtima, on September 16, for the presentation of the Pastoral Program of 2017-18, a group of Past

Pupils met with the National Delegate and the Provincial to increase the organization of this sector of the SF.

A restricted Working Group was set up to study and propose the lines of commitment towards a true renewal of the past pupils' association with Salesian works in Portugal. Among other topics it was emphasized once again that the education received can

not remain as a memory but must be transformed into a dynamic force incident in the world, so as to make it more human and authentic Christian.

It has also been decided that the Delegate of the SF will meet shortly with the working group set up specifically for it, so that it is possible to reach a good end as soon as possible. Antรณnio G. Pires

In the photographs, the group with the Provincial and the National Delegate of the Past Pupils. Representatives of the various groups of the SF gathered in Fatima, in the Centenรกrio of the apparitions of Our Lady to the Little Shepherds.

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Spagna

Salesianos Antequera inaugurates the portico and the new secondary classrooms

Gonzalo Urbano, a former student and current player of the UMA Antequera CD, cut the inaugural tape at an event open to the entire Educational Community After a few months of work, dedication and effort to have everything ready for the students to have a nice and welcoming classes, on October 19, after the initial meeting of parents, the porch and new classrooms were inaugurated secondary school in Salesianos Antequera.

Through an event open to the entire Educational Community in which parents, teachers, educators, students and service personnel were present. The act began with a few words from the director of the center, Miguel Conrado Montes. Gonzalo Urbano, a former student and current player of the UMA Antequera CD, then cut the inaugural tape. In this way, these new classrooms were officially inaugurated, each equipped with the latest technologies and amenities for the enjoyment and use of ESO students and teachers: insulated windows, air conditioning, projectors and a modern lighting system. In this way an old dream has come true, solving an existing need for years, and betting on a continuous remodeling of this old house, home of the young people. JosĂŠ Carlos Paradas Source: salesianos MARĂ?A AUXILIADORA

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France

Don Bosco Weekend for young people, families: "We are one family"

Saint-Jean-de-Sixt, France - November 2017

Since 2008, the Federation of Past Pupils of Don Bosco of France has been carrying out a project whereby they offer families and young people moments of relaxation, play, sharing, reflections and prayers in one of the holiday villages of the Don Bosco Network Association.

In the latest edition, between the end of October and the beginning of November, there were 210 participants housed in the village of Forgeassoud to discuss a number of issues and problems of current society, listen to testimonies, including those of two Syrian migrants staying at the Don Bosco house in Paris.

Cuba

Commemorating venerable Fr Vandor on 38th anniversary of his passing

Santa Clara, Cuba - October 2017

In the "Nuestra Señora del Carmen" parish, the same that welcomed Fr Vandor on his arrival in 1954, the 38th anniversary of the venerable Salesian's passing was commemorated. At the end of the Sunday Eucharist, the most important moments of Fr Vandor's life, including his work as a writer, were described in a meeting conducted by the historians Heidy Águila Zamora and Yuliana Denis, both MSCs.

After reading his work, there were testimonies from past pupils of then Salesian College "Rosa Pérez Velasco", and from friends who met Fr Vandor. During the meeting, music was performed by Pedro O'rrelly, who played to some poems of the venerable Vandor.

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United States

New building inaugurated at Don Bosco Prep Ramsey, United States - September 2017

On 21 September, Mgr. John J. O'Hara, auxiliary bishop of the New York Archdiocese, and past pupil of Ramsey's Don Bosco Prep, presided at Mass for the inauguration of the Institute's new building; its name: "Savio Hall".

Also present: Fr Timothy Ploch, Councilor for the Inter-America Region; Fr Timothy Zak, US and Canada Provincial; the Salesian Community of Ramsey and about 1,200 people among clergy, students, families, professors, and staff. The new structure includes a canteen, a robotics laboratory and various cutting-edge laboratories and classrooms.

Brazil

Study trip to NASA: a learning experience Cape Canaveral, United States - October 2017

Taking place in October as scheduled was a visit by ten professionals - teachers, alumni and students - from the Faculty of Engineering of UniSALESIANO of Araรงatuba, Brazil, to NASA's "Kennedy Space Center" (National Aeronautics and Space Administration), as part of the "Technical Innovation Week Project".

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S OLIDARITY

Malta

Past Pupils to open a Marvelli Residence for Homeless Youth

On the centenary year of the birth of Alberto Marvelli, the National Federation of Past Pupils and Friends of Don Bosco in Malta have launched a social project to help homeless young people to live independently in the community. This project is being undertaken in partnership with the Maltese Association of the Sovereign Order of Malta.

Disadvantaged young poeple have various challenges to overcome poverty and social exclusion. Amongst the most vulnerable, there are young people who are homeless and lack the safety of a family. The high cost of owning a home and the steep rise of renting in Malta is making it more difficult for homeless young people to lead an independent life.

A terraced house in central Paola, donated to the Salesians of Don Bosco by a benefactor, is being completely refurbished and transformed into a fully functional home to be named after Alberto Marvelli, a Blessed Salesian past pupil. The residence will accommodate and support three young people in independent living at any one time.

The aim of the project is to offer accommodation services to young homeless people by providing supported independent living. Homeless young people will stay in

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this home for a temporary period of up to two years with the aim to help them become totally independent.

A unique feature of the project will be the provision of support mentoring services to these young persons throughout their stay at the Residence, preparing them to live independently and to move into the community as good and exemplary citizens. Mentoring young people is a powerful way

of helping young people to bring them out of poverty and help them to become more socially included. Construction and refurbishment works on the property have already commenced.

Past pupils are also giving their time in offering voluntary work in the preparation of the house. The Residence is scheduled to be completed and ready for use within the period of one year.


S OLIDARITY

Italy

In the name there is a Shakespearean mythological character and there is blue, the color of electricity. The double soul of Pietro Tinelli, 24, and of the Milanese startup "Blue Oberon" of which he is a part.

Already while he was studying Classical Literature at the Catholic University of Milan, Tinelli began developing smart bracelets to track down whoever loses. The first designed for children in the most disparate situations, from seaside resorts to shopping centers, then collars for animals.

The last creature is called "Semiperdo Senior" and is dedicated to the elderly, Al-

The technological humanist invents the bracelets to be found again

zheimer's patients and autistic people.

Behind the scenes, together with him, ten young Milanese, from 24 to 40 years old. When did this adventure start? «In 2013. I was still studying, but I wanted to find a way to combine my passions, for the humanities and technology, to create something really usefu»l.

How does it work? «It is waterproof, the microchip integrated in the "Semiperdo" activates, if approached to a smartphone, the geolocation system without having to have app. If the

person who finds the lost person does not have a cell phone with NFC technology, he can connect to the web address printed on the product and can start a call or send a message. An instant notification with the location is forwarded to family members».

How useful was humanistic training? «A lot. I attended the classical high school in Treviglio, from the Salesians. Last year I graduated in Classical Literature at the Catholic University». Simona Ballatore Source: Il Giorno of Milan, 25 August 2017

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S OLIDARITY

Brazil

The testimony of Lílian Maia

«At school I learned what solidarity was and the importance of not being individualistic» (ANS - Niterói)

«All I am is due to my childhood. I was always an extroverted child, charismatic and affectionate, and I enjoyed chatting with both kids and adults.

At school I wanted to be class representative and, since I was studying in a Catholic school, I enjoyed being part of the Youth Ministry. And it is in that environment that I learned to develop myself, as a human being».

It is the testimony of Lílian Maia, Salesian Past Pupil, now a lawyer and a coach.

What do you remember about your childhood? «In Youth Ministry we were divided into groups, usually by age, and we had weekly meetings to talk about religion, behavior, values, motivational aspects of our lives, those skills that each of us loved to deve-

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lop ... We organized visits to orphanages and hospitals, which made me aware of the importance of developing social work!

I learned what solidarity was and the importance of not being individualistic, selfish. I loved collecting food in my building for the "Solidarity Campaigns" and I was the first to donate toys and clothes for those people we visited». What did you learn in your school?

«It was in school, in fact, that I learned many great lessons which accompany me in adulthood. Among these, I can say: to identify and create collaborative action plans for the future; development of the spirit of solidarity, cooperation and union between humans; development of the sense of association and belonging among colleagues; awareness that leadership is a learning process; the importance of building strong alliances and relationships. In concrete terms: honesty, self-knowledge,

self-confidence, flexibility, social intelligence, consistency with one's own values». How do you bring forward what you learned in school?

«Today I am in a profession that allows me to use all the teachings that I learned as a student.

And, even more incredible, I can develop those forces in an increasing number of people.

I think I would not be able to stimulate those teachings if I had not previously lived and believed in them. In coaching, I found my mission: to help a growing number of people pursue their personal development and learning, so that their goals are gradually achieved by following phases of change that culminate in achieving a final goal».

Source: Boletim Salesiano


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Timor Leste

Formation of the Gex ÂŤHow to start a new Unit of Don Bosco (Young) Past Pupils?Âť

Dili, Timor Leste, 9 October 2017

I would like to inform you about our National Association meeting in Dili. I was invited to brief the association and some of the representatives from the new government of Timor-Leste who are also past pupils, were there too.

After briefing the association on GEX and other programs of GEX - with the assistance from the association, we managed to select 4 young past pupils to be in National GEX and I will be providing them with briefing on GEX activities. Hopefully, by end of November I can have a draft of the School of Leaders ready to be consulted and discussed with our SDB Delegate, Fr. Mario do Rosario, SDB.

putting together the organigram to demonstrate the overall structure and roles (World Confederation, Regions - Continent, National or Province level - Federation or the smallest organization which is (local) Union.

On the Boscolink you can find the following documents;

1. Strategic Plan of World Confederation for Past Pupils of Don Bosco 2. Identity and World Statute

3. Local Union/Federation Establishment

Manual (Draft)

4. Explanation on GEX

5. EAO 2016 Regional Congress Declaration

After the first round of animation visit (August 27-September 4) in Thailand, Cambodia and Laos, i'm happy to share next proposed (2018, July 26-31) in other EAO provinces. Let me know if require further assistance! Alberto Piedade GEX World Councilor of the Don Bosco Alumni for Asia-Oceania

Fortunately the first four 'animators' are very eager to follow.

Following up this meeting, there are available some documents that could help you understanding the animation and 'managment' of Don Bosco Past pupils. Regarding the structure, currently in the World Confederation Secretariat is still

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Thailand

Training Course for Thai Federation of Past Pupils

Bangkok, Thailand, 31 August 2017

From 30th to 31st August, it was held in THA Provincial House a training course led by Mr. Alberto Alves Piedade, Councilor

GEX for Asia and Mr. Angel GudiĂąa, Vicepresident GEX of the World Confederation of Past Pupils (GEX standing for Giovani Exallievi, Young Past Pupils). The meeting was strongly supported by Fr. John Bosco Theparat, Provincial and Fr. Louis Ponchit, Delegate for the Past Pupils. The training course counted on the presence of Dr. Wanlop Chiaravanont, President and Mr. Wichai Srisura, Secretary General of the Thai Federation, and with representatives from Local Unions and other Salesian Presences with non-active Alumni.

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This event was organized upon request of Fr. Provincial when he attended the new provincials training course in Rome. On 30th August Mr. Piedade started explaining the concept of GEX and his coordination strategy for the period 2016-2021, and some of the most important initiatives, such as School of Leaders for Asia, Youth Exchange Programme and Volunteering Programme. Mr. GudiĂąa continued with a detailed explanation of the World Statute, that was updated in 2015 in the General As-

sembly. The afternoon session was focused on the business platform, in which the Thai Federation, has a great experience and a lot of knowledge to share with other Federations.

On 31st August the session started with the Presentation of the Strategic Plan of the World Confederation (easy to find in the website www.exallievi.org) and the seven priorities for the period 2017. Both councilors detailed the highlights of this plans, explaining some of the flagship initiatives that the World Presidency is preparing. The second part of the session was focused on communication, and the


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tools and strategies that World Presidency is trying to put in place to increase communication and synergy between Federations all around the world.

The meeting was concluded with a reflection session to start preparing the Thai Strategic Plan and to increase the activities at national level, counting on the support of the Province. Both speakers and participants were very happy at the conclusion of the meeting, as it was very encouraging experience for the growth of the Association in Thailand Angel GudiĂąa, GEX

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Japan

The First Gex Japan Working Team Meeting

Tokyo, Japan, 26 November 2017

One month after the annual board meeting of the Federation of Don Bosco Alumni Japan, the first GEX Japan working team

meeting was held on 25th November at SITEC (Suginami, Tokyo). The team is composed of 16 Past Pupils of Don Bosco from 5 Salesian Schools in Japan, and the GEX Delegate is Fr. Shin Mishima, SDB (Youth Ministry Delegate).

The working team is made of 3 small teams, Social Communication, Asia-Oceania Congress in Japan 2020 with Finance and Incorporation. Yesterday, 2 captains, 2 leaders and 1 member from Salesian Polytechnic (Tokyo), Osaka Seiko Gakuin (Osaka), and Salesio Gakuin (Yokohama), and Fr. Mishima attended the first meeting. Fr. Vaclav Klement, EAO Regional Councilor and Fr. Mario Yamanouchi, Provincial SDB Japan were also there to share some

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helpful latest information on GEX and Don Bosco Past Pupils in other provinces of the EAO region and around the world.

Fr. Klement emphasized some points. First, DB past pupils have to know they are an essential member of the Salesian Family. Second, past pupils have to be provided with appropriate formation on Salesian Spirituality. In most of the 23 EAO countries including Japan, Catholics are minority and most of the past pupils are non-Christian. So non-Christian past pupils can play more important

roles in various area of Salesian Ministry cooperating well with SDBs or other Salesian Family group members.

Participants eagerly talked about especially how to solve problems on Social Communication and Finance.

We finally agreed that the most important for the Federation is to be faithful to the Spirit of Don Bosco - that is Assistence with the Young and for the Young in need.

For sharing the information and calling for more Past Pupils to cooperate and contribute, we are going to make the official website of the Federation as soon as possible. In the near future we are going to plan some assistance and meaningful


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events for the interaction of present students of five Salesian Schools in Japan (e.g. Joint Volunteer Activity, Sports Competition, etc).

The whole meeting time was filled with hope and expectation, and we are already looking forward to the next! Please keep praying for us!

NB: GEX means Young Ex-Students (Italian) or Young Don Bosco Alumni (English). The World Confederation of DB Alumni has a double structure: in each continent there is one World Councilor for the Adults and one World Councilor for the Young Alumni (GEX). Chihiro Okawa Don Bosco Past Pupil Related Article: AustraLasia

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China

Be the Salt of the Earth in Macau

Macau, China, 13 December 2017

With an established tradition of helping our Salesian school students to taste the volunteering from their school time, the young past pupils of Macau Salesian Schools (Instituto Salesiano, Yuet Wah College - Primary and Secondary and FMA schools) are involved in regular volunteer services to their younger brothers and sisters in daily after school activities (daily Oratory). Since last 1992 indeed the volunteering culture among the Macau Salesian students and Alumni noticed great development.

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Youth serving the Youth What do treasure our young past pupils from their education received? Among the most frequent they mention the family spirit, close presence of their teachers and Salesian Brothers or Priests, joyful and inspiring environment of their schools.

We pray, that in all 17 schools of China province (Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan) this Mother House (Salesian School - Instituto Salesiano, founded in 1906 by Fr. Louis Versiglia) a similar youth volunteer experience will take the roots.

Can we expand this volunteer spirit and action beyond our school environment? Indeed the challenge of Missionary Volunteer Service within own country or even oversea (international volunteering) was accepted by the assembly of Young Alumni (GEX) as a possible way forward.

In our times we are called to invest in building the volunteer culture in each of our Educative - Pastoral communities.

Indeed the name of Don Bosco was often on their lips during the sharing time.

When our young people taste the attraction of serving other youth, its usually contagious. Volunteering open the hearts of our Salesian youth to the faith and to vocation journey.


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HONEST CITIZENS AND GOOD

Italy

How can one become... a past pupil

An opportunity to know, and make known, what good the world does " that vast movement of people committed to the salvation of young people " that is the Salesian Family: I like to consider in this way my work at the Agenzia iNfo Salesiana (ANS), started over 8 years ago and evolved together with the media context and the Church.

When, in the summer of 2009, I first set foot for ANS - in the historic premises of Via della Pisana - I had just completed an internship at "SAT2000" (now TV2000), the TV of the CEI (Italian Episcopal Conference). Omitting on the whole range of "providential coincidences" that in the space of a few months had brought me there - from the compulsory internship for my course in Communication Sciences, to the casual discovery, during a dinner with friends, of the search for interns from SAT2000, until the sending, by mistake, of an email, which allowed me to support the interview as a trainee well before the natural time. 32

C HRISTIANS W ORLD S TATUTE Chapter I - Identity and Mission of the Past Pupils of Don Bosco Art. 2 - Identity levels a) Past pupils of Don Bosco are those who, for having attended an oratory, a school or any other Salesian work, have received in it a preparation for life with different degrees and modalities according to the cultures, the religions, the educational quality of the work, the ability to receive individuals, following the principles of the Preventive System of Don Bosco: forming people by developing the originality of each one.

The fact is that at the end of that experience a colleague, Salesiana Cooperatrice, informed me that the Salesians were looking for a young person to be included in the project "Don Bosco Web Community – Il Tempo" - a Civil Service project to "meet the request for an increase of information and educational relationships through the virtual tools "of web surfers, especially young people.

At the time, apart from some reference to Roman toponymy, I knew practically nothing about Salesians and Salesian Family; indeed, even though I grew up in a parish oratory, logic led me to connect the Salesians to St. Francis de Sales, without going through Don Bosco!

Yet at that first summer interview followed a whole year as a volunteer and, at its end, the actual insertion in the small but laborious editorial staff. And over the years the knowledge of the Congregation has grown, of its local realities, of the missionary commitment, of

the inspiring charism, of the Preventive System, of Salesian Saints, of the youthful realities... Today, the communicator's baggage is becoming more and more enriched, also thanks to the participation in significant moments of youthful spirituality, experienced professionally with many peers. I intend to refer, among many others, to the World Youth Day in Madrid in 2011 and to the "SYM Don Bosco" of the Bicentennial Year of the Birth of Don Bosco (2015).

These are the reasons why I wish to continue to commit myself to spreading those "educational information and relationships" inspired by Don Bosco's charism: for the ANS and the Salesians, as for the Salesian Family and the Past Pupils. With the awareness that, in the vast mission for the salvation of young people that involves the Salesian Family, there is today great space and necessity for the commitment of the laity. Gian Francesco Romano

On 16 August 2015, during the 200th anniversary of the birth, solemn celebrations were held in Salesian churches in Italy and in the world, including the pilgrimage to Rome on the occasion of Pope Francis' Angelus. In addition, 5,000 young people from all over the world gathered, first in Turin then at Colle Don Bosco, during the week between 10 and 16 August 2015 to celebrate the bicentennial in a world-wide event. This event is known as SYM Don Bosco and its motto is "LIKE Don Bosco WITH the young FOR the young". The SYM was characterized by performances and celebrations in various languages, mainly English, Spanish and Italian (Source: Wikipedia).


HONEST CITIZENS AND GOOD

C HRISTIANS

Rector Major in Bangalore Province

Kochiite Charles Antony, can sing in 14 international languages (Spanish, Italian, French, German, Mexican, Russian, African, Arabic, Japanese, Korean, Hebrew, Sinhala, Indonesian and Malay); sings with the accompaniment of a mouth organ and an acoustic guitar.

(ANS – Bangalore) The Animation Visit of the Rector Major, Rev Fr. à ngel Fernandez Artime, to the Province of Bangalore, started on a high note as he landed at the Kochi International Airport at 9.40 am on November 4, 2017. Coming together and sharing was the best thing to happen, said the Rector Major as he began the second day with a visit to the province of Bangalore and the Holy Eucharist at Don Bosco Aluva. The Salesian Family members of Kerala region participated in the Holy Eucharist concelebrated by Father Maria Arokiam, the Regional, Father Joyce, the Provincial, Father Tom Uzhunnalil. Steering the Salesian Congregation in its mission since 2014, the Rector Major took to the wheel as he enjoyed the houseboat trip in the backwaters of Kochi, the Queen of Arabian Sea. What awaited him was a mammoth welcome at the Valdocco of Kerala, Don Bosco Vaduthala, Kochi. The cultural fiesta featured a celebration with special singing of the Rector Major, along with the internationally famous singer Charles Antony, a homegrown youngster of Vaduthala. Fr. Bastin Nellissery, SDB 33


HONEST CITIZENS AND GOOD

Guatemala

C HRISTIANS

Raùl Vásquez Diéguez Testimony of a Guatemalan past pupil

Introduce yourself to Newsflash readers. Remember your curriculum (when and where you were born, which schools you attended, etc.).

«My dear friends, my name is Raùl Vásquez Diéguez, I was born in Guatemala City, second of three children: an older male who died a few years ago while doing

sports in the Salesian house and a woman also past pupil of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians. So... "Salesian from birth". I think my resume is very simple. I met Don Bosco as a child, I spent a whole life next to him in the Salesian school of this city, then I went to the University to take a degree in Law; at the same time I learned a little bit the Italian language, French and German, because I always wanted to know the world through different cultures. As a child I played the piano, now I forgot everything because I no longer practice. But Don Bosco was always present to me, which is why I became a Salesian Cooperator in 1990, at the age of 27. I served in the Association of Salesian Cooperators at different levels: local, national and regional; as well as in the Asso-

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ciation of Past Pupils, where for some years our inspector has asked me to be his Delegate for the Past Pupils of the Technical Office of the City of Guatemala. I truly believe God was generous with me! That's how I met so many good people, so many places; among other things I did the Spanish translation of the book Mammá Marghereta by don Jose Aubry and the translations on the life of Alberto Marvelli. With the proceeds from the sale of books, both the Past Pupils and the Salesian Cooperators have been able to do something good for the neediest children. For 16 years I have been working as a Salesian Technical Director where past pupils do so well through the Association and especially with the "Alberto Marvelli" Foundation, which is dedicated to disadvantaged young people, the most marginalized but who nurture so much strength in spirit to conquer a more worthy life precisely through professionalism».

Why have you been rewarded? «I too ask myself the same question. Why did they reward me? A few years ago I received the "Stella della Solidarietà" Knight Condecoration from the Italian Government; at first I did not want to withdraw it because in reality I am a bit shy, but a great Salesian convinced me saying: "Do as Don Bosco ... look for something positive for the boys". Just a few weeks ago I also received the "Croce Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice" Condecoration, from the hands of Mr. Nunzio of the City of Guatemala, Monsignor Nicolas Thevenin. It was he, together with the past

pupils of the Technical Office, to ask His Holiness for the award of this recognition to reward my years as Salesian Cooperator and Past Pupil. I feel like a true Salesian Cooperator and a true past pupil of Don Bosco! I can not be one without the other. It is like the soul to the body, like day to night. This recognition belongs to all of us past pupils, the cooperators of the Salesians of Don Bosco; a significant approval for the work of the Salesian Family and a nice way to tell everyone: "You are ahead...”».

Do you remember a past pupil anecdote that you would like to tell? «Of course yes! I was in Rome for the World Congress of Past Pupils, I think in 2004; we were in Pisana, and while Don Chávez was greeting everyone in the courtyard, a police car arrived. On board there was a past pupil, a dark boy, he did not speak Italian at all; they had stopped him at the airport suspected by his face, the color of his skin, and without any understanding of the local language. These were difficult times and of great attention to security for the terrorist attacks. Inspecting his documents, here comes a picture of Don Bosco. Among the general surprise, the policemen, talking to each other, finally say: "He is a past pupil ...". For more. Given that for the numerous questions and for the careful check of the baggage a long time had passed, they decided to have it recovered to the boy accompanying him with their car to the


Pisana. As soon as we arrived and listened to that beautiful story, Fr Chávez promptly blessed the policemen who... surprising even more... they declared themselves as past pupils of an oratory outside the city of Rome,

HONEST CITIZENS AND GOOD

C HRISTIANS

Beautiful? Sure! Thus the friendship between the policemen and that past pupil was born». What are the most important values for you? «Those that I learned at home, in the family. My mother is a very religious woman, but of a practical religiosity, an active religiosity, where we must never forget that God is next to me through people, especially the most disadvantaged.

For this reason the essential values are those of "Cordiality", of "Being able to listen more than to speak", of "Fidelity", of "Service", of "Donation" of oneself in service».

Do you think that the figure of Don Bosco can serve as a guide nowadays? And why? Is the presence of Salesians on Facebook or Twitter important? «I think so. We are in the era of communication, and without a doubt Don Bosco would have used Facebook, Twitter, the Internet, even the mobile phone.

Because these are the means of the boys, it is precisely these possibilities to do good, even to fight against evil, against all that is not useful to the human person».

What is, in your opinion, the central challenge we have before us? «As Past Pupils, I think it is more collaborating with Salesians. I mean, take on the task of some works with the Salesians who, with the charism and spirit of Don Bosco, can do so much, but many times because of old age or poor health they can no longer work as they would like.

crete". Work and pray as Don Bosco did; you can not waste time, the laity can not wait in a world that wants answers, especially from politics, economy, culture. Everything talks to the boys». Who would you like to look like? How do you see your future?

We children must bear the responsibility of our "spiritual parents" to guarantee a true family to so many needy children. I think it's time to work, not the one reserved for memories, to talk only about how good it was when we were students».

What elements of thought and practice should characterize a lay believer? «I think the layman must be "practical"," concrete "," to the imprint ", do not wait, do not do many programs, as is usually done now:"A Commission that starts organizing another Commission“... It means not being bureaucratic, but "con-

«To resemble Don Bosco. To that Don Bosco I met through many good past pupils, a friendly, loving Don Bosco, always ready to listen with his heart, understand the times and especially the times of the boys, a Don Bosco able to pray in the midst of the obstacles of the world and of life. Thinking of the future I do not see it as something bad. I think about death and for this I want to prepare myself.

You know, I'd like to die in full swing, among the boys, perhaps in a courtyard, in the study, in the chapel; fall on the ground working in the style of Don Bosco. Is not it a romantic form of speaking and a concrete way of leading one's life?». Peter Kovác

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HONEST CITIZENS AND GOOD

Pakistan

C HRISTIANS

Akash is a symbol of hope for all of us! New light in Youhannabad Catholic community

Lahore, Pakistan, 10 November 2017

"Two and half years after the suicide bombings in our Christian colony of Youhannabad the life is going on. One of the largest parishes in Pakistan St. John Parish is full of life. Every year about 800 newly baptized (mainly children) and our Catholic schools, community center and Caritas services are the best expression of the vitality of our Catholic community.

Among our lights and motivations stand up beloved Akash Bashir, our hero and martyr of the 2015, March twin suicide bombing on two Churches - Catholic of St. John and the nearby Anglican parish. The life is coming again almost to the normal ways, our parish Church was renewed and we continue the beautification of the church compound to lift up the spirit of our Catholics. Whenever I bring the frequent visitors, both from abroad or from other parts of our country, we are encouraged by the strong faith of Akash Bashir family - his parents, two brothers and one sister. In our Christian cemetery the tomb of

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Akash Bashir shines and is always full of flowers. And we read the Revelation verses: "Remain faithful even to death and I will give you the crown of Live" (Revelation 2,10). Many come to pray and ask his interces-

sion. In the name of our parish community we have already published small booklet both in English and Urdu with few testimonials and prayers: “Akash Bashir is one of those people, who proved themselves to be true Christians and human being. We do believe that by giving his life for others he is seated in the company of other martyrs.


HONEST CITIZENS AND GOOD

His daring and spirited act conveys the message of sacrifice. And today let's pray for all the families whose children laid their life for others and set the example of living love.

May their living example become the source of change, that needs to take place in the minds of evildoers, a true love, the love of God."

Archbishop Sebastian Francis Shaw, OFM of Lahore is confident: ÂŤAkash is a symbol of hope for all of us: there was a hope in his heart that by sacrificing his life, he is actually going to give life to many....

He had a heart bigger than his dreams, heart that made him surrender his very own life for the love of his ChristÂť.

Akash Bashir (1994, June 22 - 2015, March 15) was also a Don Bosco Lahore Technical School past pupil and dedicated minister in his parish of St. John.

When the armed guard on the suicide attack day escaped, he didn't hesitate to die together with the attacker in order to safe the lives of hundreds who celebrated the Palm Sunday Mass in the Church. The Archdiocese of Lahore and especially

C HRISTIANS

the parish community of Youhannabad started to collect the necessary documents and testimonials for the first Dossier need to start the preliminary stage of the Cause of Martyrdom with the Congregation for the Saints in the Vatican.

The situation of the Christian community in Pakistan (2% of the 200+ million of population) remains full of challenges, also due to the low social and education background. However each light like the model of young Akash, inspires the young Catholics and their families on their daily journey! Fr. Francis Gulzar, SDB

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HONEST CITIZENS AND GOOD

Five Salesians - two from Pakistan, two Filipino missionaries and another in formation - met at Lahore's Salesian Center to begin a four-day visit (6-10 November) to the country's Salesian houses together with Fr Vรกclav Klement, Councilor for the East Asia-Oceania Region. The main focus of fhe intense program of meetings was the Pakistan Delegation's roadmap to 2020. In addition to visiting the communities of Quetta and Lahore, the delegation also had a brief meeting with the family of the Salesian past pupil Akash Bashir, killed in defending the faithful assembled in church during a kamikaze attack on March 15, 2015.

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C HRISTIANS


OMAEC

World Catholic Education Alumni Organization

50 anniversary of OMAEC's foundation th

Rome, Italy – October 2017 From 22 to 25 October, the XV Congress of the World Organization of Former Students of Catholic Schools (OMAEC) met on the theme "People and Values to Transform Society" for what was the 50th anniversary of its foundation. Founded in 1967 at the invitation of Paul VI, the OMAEC brings together the world confederations of Past Pupils of various congregations, continental unions and associations, and the national federations of the past pupils of the Catholic schools of four continents. SDB and FMA alumni were among the OMAEC's founding members. Among the participants, Angel Gudiùa, GEX Vice President, and 15 SDB and FMA past pupils.

A group of Past and Past Pupils SDB and FMA, participants in the XV Congress and the celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the OMAEC, in Rome from 22 to 25 October 2017. With the Vicar of the Mother General, Sr. Chiara Cazzuola and the World Delegate AA.

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S ALESIAN FAMILY

Croatia

Salesian Family Day

Zagreb, Croatia - October 2017

On 21 October, the Annual Salesian Family Day was held on the theme of the Rector Major's Strenna 2017: "We are Family! Every Home, a School of Life and Love". There were over 200 participants from SDB, FMA, Salesian Cooperators, Pupils and the country's very first ADMA group.

Fr. Pejo Orkic Croatia Provincial, presided over the Eucharist, concelebrated by over 20 Salesians of the various Salesian centers of Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

China

Salesian Family celebrates feast of fraternity

Macau, China - 2 December 2017

On Saturday 2 December, at the "Salesian Institute" in Macao, the Salesian Family Day of China took place, held early this year due to the presence of Fr Vรกclav Klement, Regional Councilor for East Asia-Oceania.

The six groups of the local Salesian Family were all represented: Salesians, Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, Salesian Cooperators, Past Pupils of Don Bosco and Mary Help of Christians, and Don Bosco Volunteers. Accompanied by the Salesian Provincial, Fr Lanfranco Fedrigotti, they shared moments of prayer, dialogue, talks and celebration.

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S ALESIAN FAMILY

AustraLasia News th 20 Birthday! EAO, 7 November 2017

Twenty years ago (exactly on November 7,1997) during the Regional meeting of the Provincials and Soc.Com. Delegates of the EAO provinces with Fr. Martinelli (General Councilor for the SC and Salesian Family) was born the 'Email news-service AustraLasia' from a simple collection of few email addresses and invitation to share. From 1997 until November 2017 not less than 4500 news items were shared by email and recently also via SNS among the EAO Salesian Family members.

During the incoming EAO regional meeting of the Social Communication Delegates (November 10-14) will be present also the General Councilor for SC, Fr. Filiberto Gonzalez and 20 provincial delegates SDB with some Lay Mission Partners. On this occasion will be celebrated also the 20th Birthday of the regional news service ministry of communion - AustraLasia & Boscolink - will be distributed 200 Certificates of Appreciation to all SDB and Salesian Family members who supported and contribute over the years!

The Rector Major Fr. Angel appreciated on different occasions the growth in communion amongst the provinces of EAO region: «It is highly valued, the effort that the EAO Region is making in print and video translations. These are modes of communication that bring the reality of the Congregation and the Rector Major closer to the brothers, allowing us to grow in a sense of belonging and participation. Likewise continue to push AustraLasia - Don

Bosco Link, which unites and makes the Congregation visible in the Region» (EAO Team Visit 2017, Hua Hin).

One of the translators of AustraLasia in his own language shares his conviction: «Happy to celebrate the 20th Birthday! I will continue to try my best to spread out Salesian charism to everyone, especially to the young. From the time I began post the Salesian news in Facebook, many readers con contact these news, also Salesian Cooperators and Don Bosco Past pupils» (Fr. John Baptist). Since the launch of the new BOSCOLINK website (www.bosco.link) on Feb 3, 2015 were shared more than 1550 news items.

Daily news service in English is further picked up by the Salesian Central News Agency (ANS: http://www.infoans.org) in 7 languages and many news are translated into Vietnamese, Japanese and Chinese. Thanks and congratulations to all who did contribute over past 20 years to this communion tool and EAO regional “digital sharing playground” - with their news text and photos, with translation and simply passing the good news to other Salesian family members. The best way to celebrate is simply to contribute (eao@bosco.link)! Happy Birthday!

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W ORLD S TATUTE

Statute of the World Confederation Præit ac tuetur / Guide and Protect Us Roma, 5 december 2015

Chapter III Aims and Objectives of the Association of the Past Pupils of Don Bosco

loss of any reference point, and consequently, the decline of society24.

b) The Christian Past Pupil authentically lives the meaning of Baptism and Confirmation, emphasising the spirituality of Don Bosco expressed in an apostolical committed lifestyle as a result of being a disciple of Christ. To this end: ~ Promote activities at the service of people involving anyone who, being guided and animated by good will, and is committed to the global growth of the human person and respect for the family25.

Art. 6 - General Aim

a) The general aim of the Association is to uphold those human values greatly to heart and defend them at all costs through social, political and financial commitment. In particular:

~ life: it is sacred, from birth until death. We have to help young people find meaning of life and be committed in safeguarding the quality of life, especially that of the poorest and most needy;

~ freedom: especially when governments appear to act more autarchic, although seem as if they are democratic, endangering the freedom and the common aim to build a better world where freedom is guaranteed for all;

~ truth: not only factual truth, but also the ethical and moral truth, especially when witnessing the transition from a healthy pluralism to relativism, which leads to nihilism and to the

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~ Promote the spiritual life and the active participation in the life of the Church as a sacrament. ~ Encourage an ecumenical spirit amongst Christians26 and advocate for openness to dialogue with other religionsi.

c) Moreover, a Past Pupil of Don Bosco, either a Christian or of another religion, is called to express and develop the seeds that emerge from the “received education”, that is:

P. CHÁVEZ, Goodnight speech during the IV World Election Assembly 2010. Article 3 of the Statutes 1973. 26 E. VIGANÒ, op. cit., p. 21. 24

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W ORLD S TATUTE 1. To carry out the mission with:

a) Professional competence. b) Moral conscience.

c) Social commitment.

2.To plan formation and educational experiences.

3.To keep the received education alive and present, as exemplified by the Preventive System, as a precious inheritance and rich synthesis of thought and method that is to be wholly promoted.

4.Promote human dignity; the respect for life; a more just society; a culture of responsible work; as a means of sanctification.

Art. 7 - Educational Promotion

The Association of Past Pupils, conscious of its own special responsibility, binds itself with animating and promoting the personal growth of its members and all young people in Don Bosco committing itself to:

a) Plan experiences of permanent formation for the Past Pupils, designed to increase their on-going personal enrichment and update the received education, so they are able to face the demands of current times.

b) Be present as experts in the spheres in which educational policies of the young are developed.

Art. 8 - Family Commitment

The Association promotes and bears witness to the values and dignity of the family, founded on the sacrament of Marriage, promoting therein the principle of its indissolubility, the sacredness of life, the equality of rights and duties between spouses, a Christian education and of other faiths in the preventive educational method, and show respect to natural methods and aspirations of having children.

Art. 9 - Service to vocations and specific secular tasks

The Association accompanies young people in the choice of their professional career, their inclusion in the world of work and culture, their sociopolitical formation, the achievement of specific competencies in social communication, in the healthy use of free time, and in their response to

their call. It looks after these factors through different involvement. Furthermore, the Association also promotes the Vocation of other groups in the Salesian Family and the Church.

Art. 10 - Volunteer Movement

The Association of the Past Pupils of Don Bosco encourages participation in various Salesian volunteer activities and promotes the personal commitment in the missionary apostolate.

Art. 11 - Attention to Young People

a) The Association looks after young people right from the first time they begin to attend a Salesian Presence, by promoting the Association and the advantages of joining the Movement as young members. It also promotes projects and programmes, with and for them, to suit their aspirations.

b) The Association contacts young people registered in the centres and other Salesian Presence as they will be the future Association’s action of assistance, renewal and involvement.

Art. 12 - The Salesian Family

a) The Association increases active communion with the other groups of the Salesian Family by participating in new and existing arrangements that facilitate reciprocal appreciation, dialogue, collaboration and interaction of the different groups. Furthermore, it also participates annually in the World Consultative Council and the Spirituality Days of Salesian Family.

b) The Association studies and plans activities and agreements with the Past Pupils of FMA, the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (Salesian Sisters), thanks to the evident affinity of spirit and pedagogy which characterise the two Associations that share the same precious patrimony.

Art. 13 - Friends of Don Bosco

The Association is a point of reference and contact for anyone who “for any reason” feelscommitted to the Salesian work, shares its objectives and constitutes the vast movement of followers, including “the Friends of Don Bosco”, who for a long time have worked, and are still active in society.

(Continue in the next issue)

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S ALESIAN C ALENDAR

J ANUARY

F EBRUARY

8 - Beato Titus Zeman 15 - Beato Luigi Variara 22 - Beata Laura Vicuña 24 - San Francesco di Sales 30 - Beato Bronislao Markiewicz 31 - San Giovanni Bosco

7 - Beato Pio IX 9 - Beata Eusebia Palomino 25 - SS. Versiglia e Caravario

NOTES FROM THE CONFEDERATION Valdocco (Torino) - 18-21 january 2018

Salesian Family: Days of Spirituality Timor Leste (EAO) - 5-9 march

Provincials

Slovenia (European) - 24 march / 1 april

EXALLIEVI NEWSFLASH

School Leaders

Religious and Social magazine of the World Confederation of Ex-students of Don Bosco

Director and Editor Sede Centrale Salesiana - Via Marsala, 42 - 00185 Roma - Italia tel. + 39 06 656 12609 E-mail: newsflash@exallievi.org Internet: www.exallievi.org

Editor Collaborator Pierluigi Lazzarini

Secretariat for Journalistic Publishing Silvia Bruni, Silvia Ciamarra

NUMBER OF OUR ACCOUNTS

Name: Confederation of Past Pupils of Don Bosco Bank: Lombard Bank Malta p.l.c. Address: Balzan, Malta IBAN: MT 08 LBMA 0500 0000 0000 0144 0520 986 SWIFT Code: LBMAMTMT Bank Account Number: 01440520986

Collaborators of this issue Don Ángel Fernández Artime sdb, Michal Hort, don Jayapalan Raphael sdb, Simona Ballatore, Okawa Chihiro, Ketan Gala, Angel Gudiña, P. Francis Gulzar sdb, Peter Kovac, Victor L.M., don Bastin Nellissery sdb, José Carlos Paradas, Alberto Sequeira Alves Piedade, António G. Pires, Gian Francesco Romano, don Joseph Sin Minsoo Translation Inglese (Pietro Riparbelli), Spagnolo (Angel Gudiña), Francese (Redazione), Portoghese (António Guilhermino Pires), Italiano (Redazione) Photography and Images Archivio ANS, AustraLasia, Wikipedia, Salesianos MARÍA AUXILIADORA, “Il Giorno” di Milano

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