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EX ALLIEVI Newsfl N ewsfl aass h YEAR 9 - ISSUE 38 - 24 JUNE 2020

Religious and Social magazine of the World Confederation of Ex-students of Don Bosco English Edition (translations: Sandra Pistilli)

Michal Hort

Francesco Muceo

Antonio Pires

150 years Carlo Gastini

Pietro Gribaudi

with Don Bosco Taboada Lago

Giuseppe Castelli Gonzalez Torres

Felice Masera

Arturo Poesio


T HE VOICE OF THE R ECTOR M AJOR

RECTOR MAJOR NAMES NEW DELEGATES FOR SALESIAN FAMILY (ANS - Rome)

With an official statement, Fr Ángel Fernández Artime, Rector Major of the Salesian Congregation and Father and Center of Unity of the Salesian Family, communicated the names of the new Delegates of the Rector Major for those groups that foresee direct spiritual animation by the Sons of Don Bosco. Below, the text of the press release.

Fr Joan Lluís Playà

Dear Salesian Confreres, dear Members of the Salesian Family, My heartfelt greetings to all of you. After the celebration of the 28th General Chapter of the Salesians of Don Bosco, some changes are taking place in the various services of animation. One of these concerns the Secretariat of the Rector Major for the Salesian Family. In this line I would like to notify the Salesian Family worldwide about the Delegates of the Rector Major for those groups where is required a direct spiritual animation by the Salesians of Don Bosco. The Delegates of the Rector Major are:

- Fr Joan Lluís Playà, Delegate of the Rector Major for the Secretariat of the Salesian Family; he will continue to be the Ecclesiastical Assistant of the VDB (Volunteers of Don Bosco) and CDB (Volunteers with Don Bosco). Fr Joan Lluís is already well known, since he worked in this field during the previous years. We also appreciated him as a good Coordinator of the Animation Team of the Spirituality Days of the Salesian Family. Bro. Duc (Dominic) Nam Nguyen

- Bro. Duc (Dominic) Nam Nguyen, Vietnamese Salesian Brother, will be the Delegate of the Rector Major for the Association of the Salesian Cooperators and the Delegate of the Rector Major for the Past Pupils of Don Bosco.

On the cover: The Presidents of the World Confederation of Past Pupils of Don Bosco, from the founder Carlo Gastini (1870) to the current Slovak Michal Hort.

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T HE VOICE OF THE R ECTOR M AJOR

Bro. Dominic has a good knowledge of the European and the Italian context and undoubtedly he is a reference point for the Asian culture. My intention is to avoid a Europeanisation or Westernization in the animation of the Salesian Family; rather I wish to make it more universal, and also to value at the best the vocation of the Salesian Brother in its more specific characteristics, including the animation of the Salesian Family, in particular of the two groups within it composed mainly by lay people. - Fr Alejandro Guevara, at present the Delegate for the Salesian Family of the Province Mary Help of Christians in Seville (Spain), will be the Delegate of the Rector Major as Spiritual Animator of the Association of Mary Help of Christians, accompanying first of all the ADMA PRIMARIA in Turin and, from there, the whole Association in the Salesian world. His dwelling will be in Valdocco and from Valdocco he will carry on his service of animation.

- Fr Pier Luigi Cameroni, Postulator General for the Causes of Saints, will also be part of the team of the Secretariat, in order to enrich the Salesian Family with the vision and better understanding of Salesian holiness, to which we are all called.

Fr Alejandro Guevara

I am very grateful to these four confreres for their availability and generosity in accepting their assignments; I also thank Fr Eusebio Muñoz, Fr Giuseppe Casti and Fr Raphael Jayapalan for the dedicated and qualified service they have rendered in the previous six years to our Family. My best wishes for the years ahead, praying for the continuation of a lively and beautiful animation of the whole Salesian Family, and at the same time for the innovation and renewal that the Church and Don Bosco’s charism requires today from all of us. Yours sincerely,

Ángel Fernández Artime, SDB Rector Major

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Fr Pier Luigi Cameroni

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T HE W ORLD D ELEGATE

BROTHER DOMINIC NAM APPOINTED WORLD DELEGATE FOR DON BOSCO ALUMNI Br. Dominic (47 years of age, born in HCM City) made his first profession in Bathon, Ho Chi Minh City (1998) and spent his initial formation both in Vietnam (Dalat postnovitiate) and in the Philippines (FIS - Cebu: practical training; FIN - Paranaque: biennium for Salesian Brothers) and continued his specialization and mission in Italy (Venezia Mestre,Vatican: 20062016). After his re-entry to Vietnam in 2016 he was in charge of the Mai-Sen TVET (Vocation training center: restaurant-hotel specialization) in Ho Chi Minh City, resident in the Ben Cat community. In the Vietnam-Mongolia Province he also served as Coordinator of the (62) Salesian Brothers and head of the organizing committee for the 7th EAO Congress of Salesian Brothers (K'Long, August 2018). Last February-March he participated as Delegate of Vietnam-Mongolia province at the 28th General Chapter (Valdocco,Turin).

First interview with Brother Dominic Nam (Nguyen Duc Nam) Ho Chi Minh - 6 june 2020

How did you feel when the Rector Major called you for this service of Salesian Family animation? «My first feeling is to recall my experience when I made first profession: “Why me? Lord!”. From that very first moment I already dedicated totally my life to the young and to the service of the Congregation. Naturally, as human being, I see this task is challenging, but at the same time it is an opportunity for me to see the greatness and the wonder which God is doing in our Congregation. The challenge is big but God’s grace is much bigger. Today’s reading strengthens me: the widow put in two small coins, but Jesus told to his disciples, this poor widow put in more than all the other contributors to the treasury. So, “what we give” that matters. God, please teach me to give everything even the very little that I have».

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T HE W ORLD D ELEGATE

How was your participation in the GC28 - some insights - deeper awareness, feelings? «My experience of General Chapter 28 is still fresh in my memory. I have seen, I have lived in the richness of our Congregation with the presence of the confreres from every corner of the world with different colors, different languages, different cultures and different backgrounds. But we are one in Don Bosco, in the Salesian spirit. The Holy Spirit is working in all our presences for the benefit of the poor youth. This is truly the ‘Master piece’ which the Holy Spirit has given to the Church and to the young through Don Bosco. It was so meaningful to celebrate the General Chapter in Valdocco to study the theme: “what kind of Salesians for the youth of today”. Our beloved Pope Francis also invited each and every one us to make a “Valdocco option”, to go back to the original source to scoop the purest water and to refresh our commitment to God and to the young». Your dream about the Salesian Cooperators and Don Bosco Alumni?

«My dream about the Salesian family is to continue to grow greater - being a big tree - for many more poor young people to take refuge. I would like to borrow the Pope’s words in His message to the participants of the General Chapter 28 to express my wish to all Salesian Cooperators and Don Bosco Alumni. “Those encountered by Don Bosco yesterday and by the Salesians today are not mere recipients or end receivers of a strategy planned in advance, but living protagonists of the oratory yet to be fulfilled. Through them and with them the Lord shows us his will and his dreams. We could call them co-founders of your houses, where the Salesian will be an expert in prompting and enhancing this type of dynamics, without setting himself as their master or even feeling that way. A unity, that reminds us that we are ‘A Church which goes forth’ and mobilizes us for this: a Church able to let go of comfort zones, safe and in some occasions privileged positions, in order to find in the last the typical fertility of the Kingdom of God. Let’s us take courage to go against the current and to be light, salt, and leaven to the world”». Source: AustraLasia

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T HE W ORLD D ELEGATE

“JUBILEE – TIME TO WAKE UP” FAREWELL MESSAGE With Heart filled with Gratitude My heart is filled with gratitude and immense joy as I lay down my office after having served the Association of the Past Pupils of Don Bosco as the World Delegate for 4 years (2016-2020). It has been a God-given opportunity to visit and animate the Past Pupils’ Federations around the world. I am grateful to Rev. Fr. Ángel Artime Fernández SDB, the Rector Major, for this singular opportunity and to the President, Mr. Michal Hort, the presidency members, the lay collaborators in Rome and the delegates and presidents of various countries / provinces for their friendship and collaboration in enhancing the quality of the Confederation worldwide. Jubilee Year: Back to Roots, to fly with Wings

We celebrate the 150 years of our existence as Past Pupils of Don Bosco. It is a wake-up call. We go back to our roots to be inspired and strengthened to fly with wings.

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The origin of the Past Pupils’ Movement goes back to the initiative of a small group of artisan past pupils of the first Oratory at Valdocco, Turin. Led by the book-binder Carlo Gastini, they went to Don Bosco on the feast day of his patron, June 24, 1870, to express their gratitude to him with a gift of “tazzine” (coffee cups). Don Bosco loved his pupils and they loved him. Even they completed their educational programme, he followed them up, welcomed, guided, admonished them when necessary, and was concerned about their wellbeing, above all, about their spiritual life: «With your presence you assure me that the principles of our holy religion that I taught you are set firmly in your hearts and that these are the guidelines for our lives» (MB XVII, p. 173-174). Don Bosco remembered also the absent ones and like a loving father exclaimed: «Not all have come back, but when you meet them, tell them on my behalf that Don Bosco loves them always».


T HE W ORLD D ELEGATE

My Dreams - Future of the Federation of Past Pupils As I lay down my office and pass on the baton to Bro. Dominic Nguyen Duc Nam SDB, I pass on my dreams with it. • I dream of a Confederation of Past Pupils that becomes a formidable force in the Salesian Family, becoming a beacon of light in the Church and in society.

• I dream of units of past pupils in every institution, youth centre and parish with the formal registration of members. The presence of a unit of active past pupils is a sign that the spirit of Don Bosco has really touched their hearts, evoking gratitude.

• I dream of young past-pupils who find guidance, hope and direction in life even after passing out from the institutions through the organization and formation of young past pupils’ units in every province/country with care. • I dream of a situation where the provincials, delegates and presidents together are committed to the cause of the past pupils, reaching out to as many as possible, without being complacent with just a few units consisting of a few past pupils who live a comfortable life. • I dream of Past Pupils’ Federations becoming salt of their country and light to

the world through concrete social projects, thus empowering the poorest and marginalized to experience values of dignity, love, freedom and justice. • I dream of the past pupils of various religions living in harmony and promoting the same in society. The Association is a unique member of the Salesian Family, comprising of people of all religions. • I dream of a World Presidency actively involved with time, energy and money, motivating every national / provincial federation to be committed to the transformation of society based on the values of Christ through their social and political commitment.

We have miles to go

As I conclude, I realise that the organisation of the Past Pupils’ Association is not easy. We can find motivation in the words of Saint Mother Teresa:

«When you are not able to run fast, run slowly. When you are not able to run at all, walk; when you are not able to walk, use the stick; but never, never stop». I think the challenge is exactly to understand that success is not in winning always but it lies in the constant effort to march on. Fr. Jayapalan Raphael SDB World Delegate of the Past Pupils (2016-2020)

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G REETINGS FROM THE P RESIDENT

7 QUESTIONS TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE WORLD CONFEDERATION What is the current reality of the World Confederation

«I would use the word “constantly growing”; as you may remember, our biggest challenge in 2015 was to get in touch not only with those 100.000 registered past pupils, but with past pupils and friends of Don Bosco all over the world.

Now, after 5 years I can say it’s a tough one. Having in mind and heart millions of past pupils that passed thorough the hands of more than 14.000 Salesians in more than 3.000 schools and another 4.000 operas globally is one thing, but get them organized is another one. But we are working. Constantly. With help of don Bosco, with our team, with the help of the Salesian family; everyday more and more past pupils and friends of Don Bosco are discovering and deepening their identity by serving others. By using their skills, talents and professionality in everyday in their local communities and life situations. Because that’s what don Bosco meant when he said to help each other. And that’s what is written in our Promise-prayer and should be day by day reality for us. Or better – our plan of life».

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In these years of the Presidency, among the many realities you have encountered, which has remained in your heart

«All of them; all… each for different reason; “Old” Europe for strong history, rich activities and real influence in the economic and political society and tradition but also for struggles to speak to youngsters; “New” Europe for incredible energy with no limits but without system and processes to be sustainable; Africa for the natural approach to help the poorest and freedom of life but struggling for the basic instruments and communication; Asia for the incredible growth, energy and capabilities but with no influence over the borders of the region; and Latin America for the well spread knowledge of don Bosco and Past Pupils in everyday life with joy, but lacking the possibilities to enforce the structures and functioning system; That’s what remained in my mind and the world presidency should target and balance. Especially through initiatives like “best practices” sharing through our global website, magazine and network of owned media. By discovering the differences inspiring the improvement». How is the implementation of the Programming you did with your World Council going


G REETINGS FROM THE P RESIDENT

World Confederation of the Past Pupils of Don Bosco

«It is going very well; especially in the jubilee year, but more about it later. We are reaching the goal to move the world presidency and confederation to the 21st century. In order to be a supportive structure to our movement – again with the quote: “which past pupil for the 21st century?” what we are good at, as Presidency, is to enlighten, to inspire and to innovate; inspire the national and local structures and leaders, through programming, sustainable growth, project thinking; What I’m not satisfied with, and what we miss is a good and capillary communication with PPs and friends of don Bosco; that’s what we need to work on the most. But there are 3 most important things for every past pupil reality all over the world: strategic plan, lists of pps based on their work skills, and list of projects; And at this point I also want to mention the importance of our team of presidency: between elected members, coopted members, projects managers and experts we are more then 30 people! Although they are all volunteers (they have their jobs and families), they work every day in their position and for this I’m immensely grateful to each and every of them».

Via Tiburtina, 994 00156 - Roma (RM) Italia

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Perspectives and Hopes - Salesian Movement

«Which are the perspectives for the Salesian movement? Well I understand the word “Salesian movement” in two ways. First one is “Salesian movement” as the synonym for the Salesian family. And here the idea is the “magic” circle of the Salesian family; What does it mean? Very simple: Salesians grow the youngsters, teach them about the Salesian family groups. Youngsters choose their vocation, either for the SDBs, FMAs, cooperators or Past Pupils… and from the families of the Past pupils grow new members of the Salesian movement, new youngsters to go to the oratories, to be taken care of by the SDBs, FMAs, etc. I think we have to work on this way of seeing the Salesian movement.

The other way I understand the “Salesian movement” are the lay people that love don Bosco but they don’t feel part of the Salesian family groups. It seems to me very much as the “friends of don Bosco” as written in the statute of the World Confederation of the Past Pupils and friends of don Bosco.

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G REETINGS FROM THE P RESIDENT

Carlo Gastini

Michal Hort

But both ways of understanding the “Salesian movement” has one thing in common – to integrate into the Salesian movement the vocations of former students with religious groups, and to help each other: lay people who serve religious groups as professionals and who in return receive spiritual service from the religious groups to do good to them and their families». Some adults think that some young people are passive, indifferent, so distrustful and discouraged that they don't dream and plan anymore. What do you think

2015 New World Statute

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«Well, I don’t actually agree with these sentences; there always was and will be a concept of “generation gap”, institutional structures are usually ran by the elderly people, youngsters are usually not interested in traditional ways of doing things; the youngsters are always rebels, youngsters are always the engine of the change and progress – in a good way and in the bad way as well! They are always leaders of the revolutions – good ones and even bad ones. But we don’t need to be worry about any of this social clichés (even though they are true), because we have extraordinary example of don Bosco and his vademecum for young people. His deepness and love always attracted youngsters and was inspiration for them. That’s what they need the most. As don Bosco did».

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Your feeling for this 150th anniversary of us Alumni

«The 150th anniversary; It’s a gift for us. We can look back. We can remember good and inspiring things from the past. We can get inspired from 150 years of history and tradition. It´s huge. Its impressive. It´s beautiful. It brought many great ideas.

I would like to list some that World Confederation is promoting and developing. Everything starts with the “jubilee year” (June 2019 – June 2020) that we agreed on with the whole Presidency team during the presidency meeting in Colombia in 2018. We agreed we are going to prepare for one year for the whole year of celebrations (June 2020 – June 2021), that will bring us to the next General assembly in 2021. First we agreed on the motto for our anniversary (inspired by SDBs): “What past pupil for the 21st century?” or “What past pupil for the next years?” In order to understand deeply we prepared a Questionnaire. Questionnaire with a big Q. Simple, with few questions but very detailed. And we spread it to our stakeholders. Who are they? Well, not only the past pupils. We went much further. We sent the questionnaire to fulfill to all the leaders of the groups of the Salesian fa-


G REETINGS FROM THE P RESIDENT

mily! In order to understand how our “family” sees us.

To have an opinion from outside. And we got beautiful feedback.

This questionnaire is important also for other goal: based on the answers we are going to prepare the proposals of the modification of our world statute in order to make it actual for the past pupils of today and for the 21st century.

Together with this there are other initiatives that are linked with the anniversary to be mentioned.

We are preparing the compendium/collection of 150 best practices/projects run by past pupils and compendium of 150 profiles of great past pupils to be inspired by. And we continue. We want to underline our founder – Carlo Gastini.

We prepared a book about him, we are discussing to install his statue in Valdocco, we want to start the beatification process. Another book prepared is about our Alberto Marvelli – beatified Past Pupil from Italy. Through this book we want to let Past Pupils know what does it mean Good Cristian and honest citizen in the real life. Not to forget our flagship initiative – “le tazzine”; we are going to renew the gift that the first past pupils gave to don Bosco on 24th of June 1870. They gave him a silver heart and

the set of coffee cups. After 150 years, on 24th of June 2020, we are going to give 150 coffee cups sets (together with past pupils coffee) to the past pupils of today – starting with don Artime and the Pope.

The money we ear from these coffee cups sets we are going to distribute to 4 education projects (one in each continent) for the past pupils in the coffee sector (don Bosco in his youth was barista) – that’s why coffee. And don Bosco himself is helping us with our celebrations – because the strenna for 2020 is the same as our motto “Honest citizens, good Christians”. Thank you, don Bosco!». What about at the end?

«The most important message to give, most important words to say - are always the same: Be good Christians and honest citizens. Explanation: Use talents that God gave us, the educations we received by Don Bosco and skills and capabilities of our professional lives to serve.

Bangkok

To serve to other past pupils, to the Salesian family and the community we live in. This means to be the Past pupil of Don Bosco. To search for holiness in our everyday lives, in our families, in our jobs… in our professional, personal and pastoral life». Pierluigi Lazzarini

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E DITORIAL

150 YEARS! “With Don Bosco and with the times” Dear Friends,

150 Years! How much time? Quite a lot, if we think about the changes occurred in our society. A great thinker maintains: «Time doesn’t wait for anyone. Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mistery. Today is a present. That’s the reason why it’s called “present”». The celebrations of the anniversaries are not a simply commemoration, they are a growth of the values the past has passed us down.

In Turin, on April the 29th 2012, the then Rector Major, father Pascual Chàvez, in his speech in occasion of the hundredth anniversary of the International Confederation, claimed how: «The Associations of Alumni were not founded by Don Bosco or Salesians. They were born by a sense of lived and shared gratitude. The gratitude is the first fruit of a good education because “it” keeps on being a “thing of the heart”. A spontaneous response to the heart of God who didn’t even spare his Son’s life to rescue us; to the heart of Don Bosco who promised to his kids that even the last breath of his life would have been for them». The Association of Alumni didn’t directly have a “founder”. As Father Ceria also writes, it was born «thanks to the strength of things which draw origin and life from natural and spontaneous causes» (Annals I, 715).

Who knew that priest of modest build was so much fascinated by the great stature of his personality that he wanted to remain with him to share his educational mission addressed to young people. That’s how it was born, spontaneously, the Association of Alumni who, grateful for the education received, took on a life engagement in order to witness in everyday life, a day after another, how you could live as “good Christians and honest citizens”. It’s great and stimulating to notice how the noun given to the ancient pupils of the Salesian Houses is not “salesian” Alumni but Alumni “of Don Bosco”.

Alumni “of” Don Bosco (not alumni of a certain salesian or of that salesian House). That’s the reason why we are organized on a worldwide, national, regional and local level. Accompanied to grow up in welcoming educational environments - and at the same time demanding - where the joy of being together doesn’t remove the responsibility towards the environment, the teachers, the companions. The alumnus promotes friendship in an atmosphere of salesian cordiality and doesn’t turn his nose up at the traditional means to feed a sound cheerfulness: the affability, the singing, the music. This allows us not to close ourselves off, but to open up to those sympathizers who

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E DITORIAL

The first periodical: "Federazione"

will be able to join our work. After all, Don Bosco didn’t theorize about young people, he was great in the middle of them: he challenged them, he provoked them, he accepted them, he made them feel important. Wherever you move, you can grasp the living presence of Don Bosco in today’s world through his sons. In the name and on the boost of the Saint of Valdocco it takes place that “internationalism” which took origin by his project, which doesn’t tolerate boundaries because it is sustained by an open and boundless mentality. The faces of countless young people, from around all the continents, always cheerful and full of joy of life. The call to recall goes beyond the narration. The path by its nature takes place wrapped up in a myriad of events and concatenations. 150 years! The significant anniversary is registering several initiatives, even in the tragic pandemic caused by Covid-19. Peculiar the proclamation of a Jubilee Year: from June the 24th 2020 to June the 24th 2021. The Jubilee as a moment of revision of the path already travelled and to be travelled. Also a moment of reconciliation with God and with the brothers. Educating with the heart of Don Bosco means to make live again in one’s own educational experience the beliefs and the style of Don Bosco, who used to admonish: «Remember that education is a thing of the heart and that God alone is its master, and we will not be able to do anything if God does not teach us the art and does not give us the keys». The tomorrow of the Alumni is forging itself precisely over this lively way of being salesian which stimulates us to always keep us young according to the proven motto: “With Don Bosco and with the times”. May the Jubilee really represent an occasion to strengthen the faith and the testimony of the Christians, of inner joy and also of a jubilation that occurs outside. In the action of curing the terrain, Don Bosco must always be our teacher, with his enthusiasm, his experience, his preventive pedagogy, his contagious example. I wish you all Good Jubilee Year! Pierluigi Lazzarini

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150 Y EARS OF H ISTORY

150 YEARS OF HISTORY OF THE ALUMNI

The anniversary is a favorable opportunity to offer readers an overview through the most representative writings. A choice had to be made to characterize the various components. Only in this way can History become "teacher", only if the study is conducted in depth. The articles and the lexicon used must be considered adequate for the period in which they were written.

The Origins [Turin - Valdocco] Always next to the hospice, flourished the festive oratory. The Saint could no longer take care of it personally, he was making there only brief appearances.

of a great army that knows no borders. It was written, and not without reason, that this was a new fact in the history of pedagogy.

Salesian catechists and Alumni gave him a hand. Having by now twenty-four years of existence, the oratory had already a substantial number of these Alumni.

In 1883 a certain Agostino Semeria wrote to Fr. Rua from Liguria: «I have left this Oratory for seventeen years and have not forgotten it yet. How can I forget about the many loving care lavished on us by Don Bosco during the years of our inexperience? Remembering those traits of ineffable goodness, those affectionate words with which he encouraged us to virtue, that patience with which he tolerated our defects, that concern for our education, I feel softened, moved, and tears I cannot hold back from my eyes».

That the Alumni of religious colleges remained in relationship with their educators, was no news, the novelty was that they joined together and formed like many cadres

The same ever-present and active memory is thus described by the Alumnus, Professor Maranzana in one his speeches from 1893: «The ancient pupils of the Oratory,

Starting from 1869 he had entrusted the direction of it to the very young priest Don Giulio Barberis, a sincere soul, all of God and Don Bosco’s, of whom he knew how to assert the vast moral charisma among young people.

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scattered throughout the world, but always united in one affection, fix the fearful gaze on this refuge of love and peace, remember their ancient companions, the beloved Superiors, indelibly imprint the dear image in their hearts of that angel in human form, who was their good father Don Bosco».

For his part, Don Bosco didn’t stop giving his Alumni gestures of fatherly affection provided that he had way to do it. Reason why he frequently invited them to the Oratory and, when necessary, he kept on being their benefactor. When they came to visit him, he welcomed them jubilant; showed interest in them, in their families in their affairs; He advised them, encouraged them, admonished them, strengthening the thread of mutual relations by all means. Then when he went to some city, where he knew there were Alumni, he tried to inform


150 Y EARS OF H ISTORY

The Feast of “Thank You”

them in time, expressing the desire to meet them and indicating the place of his stay. Of course on the day of his onomastic, which is usually celebrated on June 24th, he received copious letters of good wishes and gratitude from Alumni, to whom he never failed to respond in the most appropriate ways. And precisely on the occasion of his Name-day the idea of the first collective events was born. […] These events started in 1870.

Said and done! On June the 24th, 1870 a large group of Alumni was joyfully going to the Sanctuary and after the Saint’s Mass, gathered in a room which was in the opposite side of the sacristy, invited the Servant of God to spend a little time with them. This is not to say how much the good Father's delicate soul enjoyed it, and how his ardent charity seized the opportunity to repeat to his dear children his great admonition to preserve and spread the spirit of the Oratory in families.

Some Turin workers, who had been among Don Bosco’s first pupils, also proposed to celebrate his name-day with their presence and gifts. They were a dozen.

In the group, there was Carlo Gastini, whom the Saint had welcomed among the first in the Oratory, since 1847 and who was keeping on going there daily as bookbinder Chief. His companions, recalling the thousand demonstrations of goodness, which they too had been filled with, regretted that, by approaching the name day of Don Bosco, they could no longer tell him in person, at least a thank you!

Nice - Altar of Don Bosco

Once the news spread, the idea took root with the strength of things which draw origin and life from genuine and spontaneous causes. […] The students that year after year, once completed their high-school or learnt their art, left the Oratory, when Don Bosco died, were disseminated throughout Italy and foreign countries too, led there by their business. But the memory of their youth was constantly connected with the affectionate Father, who left an unerasable trace of himself in their lives. That year [1888, after the death of Don Bosco] Don Rua continued a tradition and sanctioned a novelty, to which all the salesian world was somehow looking at.

– You are lucky, they said to Gastini, because you work in the Oratory and you keep on stay with Don Bosco!

– Listen! – Gastini replied: and they arranged to meet with other companions on June the 24th in the Church of Mary Help of Christians to attend Don Bosco’s Mass and show up before him in person.

Those who reasoned with an outdated mentality sometimes branded the Salesian as revellers. It is true. Don Bosco loved and made love the beautiful feasts in his churches and boarding schools: but it is also www.exallievi.org

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150 Y EARS OF H ISTORY

New Rochelle (USA)

true that his parties, celebrated as he used and taught, produced fruits of blessing and represented a valuable element of his pedagogy. Two emerged above all for their yearly and large repercussion, and for this reason they belong to the Society’s historical tradition: the Solemnity of Mary Help of Christians and the onomastic of Don Bosco. It would seem more difficult if not impossible, that devout and filial manifestations in occasion of Don Bosco’s onomastic would survive, those manifestations which rejoiced so much the hearts and did so much good to young people.

During the year of mourning, that celebration would have been out of tune, no matter how one could renovate it, when the king of the feast was no more there.

It is then that the Oratory’s Alumni thought up the way to perpetuate the manifestation, giving it an original and brilliant trait, which Don Rua approved, even though it had not been him the inspirer of it.

Their Committee met in St. Augustine’s rectory, where Don Felice Reviglio was parish priest, the first priest ordained by Don Bosco, and there they started to study how, 16

from then on, they could celebrate the memory of the unforgettable father and benefactor.

Several proposals were put forth: erect a monument to him, make a commemoration or a pilgrimage to his tomb every year, hold an Academy every June the 24th, assemble all the Alumni of the Oratory in a regular Association headquartered in Turin.

But finally the opinion which prevailed was that nothing would have been better then to continue the yearly manifestation of June the 24th in the person of Don Rua, with the title: “Filial Demonstration in the Memory of Don Giovanni Bosco”.

The idea was universally appreciated at the point that in 1889 Don Bosco and his Successor were associated for the first time for the homage of the gratitude, and the Feast of Saint Michael was anticipated and united to the one of Don Bosco.

“And this is fine”, said Don Rua in the Academy of June the 23rd.

“I’m happy that one doesn’t miss the use of celebrating Don Bosco’s name day. I deeply wish that his memory is always fixed in our hearts and I’m delighted that one catches

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every circumstance which can contribute to make more alive the memory of his virtues”.

The Attestations

And at this point it is fair to hand over the pen to an eyewitness, who in an extremely private correspondence, describes this way (Don Lazzero’s letter to Mgr. Cagliero, Turin, July the 3rd , 1889):

“On the evening of the 23rd we didn't even notice that Don Bosco wasn’t there. The same thoughts in the readings, the same songs and bands’ concerts of the Oratory and of San Benigno Canavese; the same large crowd of foreigners, the delegations of the external oratories, of the San Gioacchino’s Società Operaia Cattolica and so and so forth.

On the morning of the 24th , at the same time of previous years a great number of Alumni, accompanied by music, entered. They gathered in the usual room, gave a speech in honor of Don Rua, exactly how it was done for Don Bosco. Ended this ceremony, they moved to Valsalice for the solemn discovery of a wonderful marble plaque, a graceful ornament to


150 Y EARS OF H ISTORY the tomb of Don Bosco: their gift for the year 1889. On the evening of the 24th the academy in honor and memory of Don Bosco had an impressive outcome thanks to the deferential behavior with which the ad-hoc compositions were listened as much from the interiors as from the numerous external intervened“.

Oratory of Leghorn and about his life as a boarding pupil in Florence, he continued: «It was then that in my soul was planted a seed that only after would give fruit»: And that fruit was twofold: the resurgence to the Faith and the strength to endure the great adversity.

He, then, recalled: «If I ask myself from which depths certain voices have climbed back to me, it seems to me to listen again to the cries and the singings of when we played and prayed with the same innocence, with the same happiness. At that school I learned the truths that that had to be forgotten but not erased by the violence of the youth».

So it arose, little by little local Associations which then gathered and formed national Associations till they coordinate and ended to constitute the big international Association: an immense army, as we said, ready to get going, if only a watchword had been pronounced from the center (International President was initially Mr. Masera, a lawyer, Alumnus from Fossano; his successor was Mr. Poesio, a lawyer, Alumnus of the Oratory at the time of Don Bosco). We admired the compactness of them, their agility during the triumphant years of Don Bosco’s Beatification and Canonization. In that moment we saw illustrious Alumni who, despite having known Don Bosco only through his sons, stood up everywhere in the world to celebrate the Saint of Youth Education. One of them was Carlo Delcroix, the great War Maimed, member of the Italian Parliament, President of the National Association of Disabled Servicemen. He lost, by fighting, both the eyes and both the forearms; but the intelligence is vivid and the spirit is very high. In Milan, in the presence of the major authorities, he glorified the Saint with an affection which vibrated from all his body and with a persuasion force which fascinated the public present and the radio listeners. His quality of Alumnus inspired him a magnificent debut. «My debut – he started –wants to be, first of all, an act of gratitude». And after having told about his long attendance in the

Not many Alumni have the gift of knowing how to dress their thinking with such elected forms, but the thought is in many, indeed in many.

Carlo Delcroix Silver Military Valor Medal

It is not, therefore, rethorical exaggeration saying that the Association of Alumni is naturally included in the history of Salesian Society; but if today’s Association reigns, as we see it, this happens thanks to the virtue of the seed sprouted in the climate of the Oratory and under the caress of the vivifying heat which came from and come from Don Bosco.

- (SAC. GIOVANNI BATTISTA LEMOYNE, Life of the Venerable Servant of God Giovanni Bosco, Vol. Second, chap. VII For the Church and for the Pope 1870-1871, Turin 24 May 1930). - (SAC. EUGENIO CERIA, Annals of the Salesian Society, from the origins to the death of St. John Bosco 1841-1888, Chap. XV pp. 162-163, Cap. LXVI pp. 712-719, International Publishing Company, reprint November 1961). - (SAC. EUGENIO CERIA, Annals of the Salesian Society, vol. Second, The Rectorate of Don Michele Rua, part I from 1888 to 1898, Chap. III pp. 22-24, International Publishing Company, reprint April 1965). www.exallievi.org

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Slovakia

MR NIEL EVANGELISTA the new GEX Councillor for Asia-Oceania By World Confederation of Don Bosco Past Pupils

Bratislava, 7 April 2020 After 3 years of committed and enthusiastic service by Mr Alberto Piedade (Timor Leste), to the World Confederation as the GEX Councillor (Giovani Ex-allievi: Young Alumni), the World President of Don Bosco Past Pupils, Mr Michal Hort, has appointed Mr Niel Evangelista (Philippines North 27 years) as his successor:

ÂŤBased on evaluation of all applications that the secretariat of the World Confederation received, Mr Neil Allan C. Evangelista was appointed to the position of GEX Councillor in Asia-Oceania.

The appointment of Mr Neil Evangelista has the following objectives: * Communication with president of GEX, the whole GEX team and secretariat of World confederation. * Promotion of GEX activities in and for Asia-Oceania: School of leaders, Exallievi Voluntary Service, Job Placement, etc... * To be proactive in creating of new strategies for GEX (Young) Past pupils. 18

* Create GEX groups and representatives in every federation. * Communication about this project with all countries who are members of the World Confederation. * Other tasks or duties approved by decision of executive council and world presidency. All members of the Presidency of the World Confederation of Past Pupils of Don Bosco welcome Mr Neil Evangelista to our team and wish him all the best in his new positionÂť. Niel (27 years) has been a teacher at Senior High School in Xavier School San Juan since June 2018, and at present teaches Social Justice to grade 11 and 12 students.

As a committed Alumnus since 2013, he is a member of the SYM (Salesian Youth Movement) Council and active in many ways among the young Don Bosco Past Pupils. As a Bosconian he graduated from Don Bosco Academy (Pampanga, Mabalacat) and UST (University of Santo Tomaso, Ma-

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nila). During his University years he also had a rich professional working experience. The Delegate to the DB Alumni, Fr Ike Veloso presents our new World Councilor for Asia-Oceania in these terms:

«Niel is very open, enthusiastic and even very happy to be of service to young Alumni.

He is a very active Alumnus here in the Philippines North Province, serves as the head organizer of our monthly program for the young alumni "Uwi Ka Muna" ("Come Home Even For A While"). And the love for Don Bosco is clearly in him». Niel shares his first feeling after the appointment: «I never really imagined myself to be closely working with young people. However, my experience studying in a Salesian school opened the doors - and eventually my heart to the youth. To this day, I carry in my heart the concern for the young and the challenge to connect and relate with them.

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I look forward to working with the Salesian youth of the Asia-Oceania region. The AsiaOceania region is diverse and rich - in culture, history, and identity. With this diverse richness, we are unified by our faith and love - the love that we constantly receive from God and the love that is shared with us by a little boy who dreamed. Like Christ and St John Bosco, who were once young and remained with a youthful heart, the youth of today are very capable of changing the landscape of society. Enabling the highly-capable youth we have today means empowering them by journeying with them. May our individual gifts and efforts be shared and used altogether so that we may be able to reach out to more youth and continue living out the dream of our father and friend, Don Bosco».

We congratulate Niel for his new responsibility in our EAO region and wish to share his dynamic animation experience with the other Past Pupil Federations where the GEX is not yet very much established.

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Italy

HOW ARE WE PREPARING FOR THE 150TH BIRTHDAY OF THE PAST PUPILS OF DON BOSCO?

Valdocco, Turin, 4 June 2020 We are about to celebrate the 150th Birthday of the Past Pupils of Don Bosco on 24 June 2020. On that day in 1870 one of the first Valdocco Oratory Boys, Carlo Gastini with a small group of his companions went to Valdocco to congratulate their Father and Teacher for his 'Onomastico' on 'Name day' - the Feast day of Saint John the Baptist. Now, during the current pandemic the Past Pupils are about to celebrate this important date. How can we help them to celebrate it meaningfully? After the appointment of a new Asia-Oceania GEX (Giovani Exallievi - Young Past Pupils) General Councillor, Mr Neil Allan C. Evangelista (7 April 2020), has just sent out his first letter to the EAO provincials SDB, provincial and local delegates for the Past

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Pupils, as well to the Past Pupil leadership. Neil writes:

«...On 7 April 2020 I received the official appointment by the World President as “GEX Councilor in Asia”. I’m here to serve the Past Pupils of Don Bosco, especially the GEX in the 23 countries of the EAO region. In my service to the Past Pupils of Don Bosco, I would also like to keep in mind two precious articles of your Salesian ‘Rule of Life’:

Article 5 of the SDB Constitutions: “Our past pupils are also members (of Salesian Family) by reason of the education they have received and the bond are closer when they commit themselves to take an active part in the Salesian mission in the world.” Article 39 of the SDB General Regulations: “The community should maintain friendly relationship with the past pupils, giving

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special attention to the younger ones. It should show a real interest in them and promote opportunities for meetings, formation and collaboration. It should encourage and support the Association of the Past Pupils of Don Bosco, and through it try to contact those who have distanced themselves…” Please, help me in my service with your support and contact with your Delegates. I will be glad to get from you more contact for your Don Bosco Past Pupils leadership, including your local and provincial delegates...

Let us make sure that the Past Pupils of Don Bosco official Prayer – Promise is translated into our respective EAO languages, and that we encourage our Past Pupils to offer it as humble contribution to the 150th Birthday of the Past Pupils of Don Bosco on 24 June 2020».


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PRAYER AND PROMISE of the Past Pupils of Don Bosco GOD, OUR FATHER, THROUGH THE MEDIATION OF YOUR SON, JESUS, AND THROUGH THE INTERCESSION OF SAINT JOHN BOSCO give heed to the prayers of the Past Pupils all over the world. WE THANK YOU for the invaluable gift of education which we have received, under the enlightened guidance of the Salesians, which have instilled our lives with the Salesian Spirituality.

WE ASK YOU WITH FAMILIAL TRUST - GIVE US STRENGTH AND COURAGE to live the human and Christian message in Society and in the Church; - ENCOURAGE us to become “honest citizens and good christians”; - HELP US to live together and promote solidarity in our Association and beyond it; - STRENGTHEN our faith, hope and charity.

WE PROMISE YOU - TO FIGHT AGAINST injustice, blackmail, superficiality, indifference; - and to DEFEND AT ALL COSTS, the values inspired from Don Bosco’s teaching, especially life, freedom and truth, with a spirit of social, political and financial commitment; - and TO BE, “the salt of the earth and light of the world” with a strong influence in the world and in the Church. WE BEG YOU to watch over our Salesian Family, our dear ones and all of us. AMEN. (Statuto 2015, art. 5,b)

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Italy

ON 23 MAY, 100 YEARS AGO, MONUMENT TO DON BOSCO INAUGURATED IN TURIN

(ANS - Turin)

On 1 September 1911, at the International Congress of Past Pupils, attended by people from 22 countries, the idea of erecting a Monument to Don Bosco as a solemn expression of gratitude to the great educator from those who had benefited by his charisma, came about. The idea was to inaugurate it in 1915, in memory of the centenary of his birth, but the First World War delayed the inauguration, which took place on May 23, 1920, on the eve of the feast day of Mary Help of Christians and the solemnity of Pentecost. From tomorrow, it will be 100 years that it welcomes faithful and members of the Salesian Family when they come on pilgrimage to the Salesian Mother House.

The monument consists of a truncated pyramid and two lateral wings that form a sort of altar. At the top and in the center of the pyramid there is the main group consisting of the figure of the saint, surrounded by 4 children; at the base of the staircase is the group of “Humanity bowed to the kiss of the Cross� in the guise of a veiled woman who offers a man the crucifix to kiss.

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The lateral wings are used to represent Don Bosco's greatest devotions: on the right, there is the “devotion to the Holy Eucharist” represented by a robust worker in adoration, before whom a woman prays and a mother expresses the tenderness of Christian motherhood; on the left the “devotion to the Virgin Help of Christians” where a proud Indios prostrates himself to Mary Help of Christians, to whom two devoted virgins bear flowers. All around the pyramid runs a festoon with an ornamental motif of exotic fruit, which recalls the theme of the three high reliefs located on the back and which show some of the main areas of action of the spiritual sons of Don Bosco at the time of the monument: “The Salesian missionaries among Italian emigrants” at the center; on the right “the Salesian trade schools”, and on the left “the Salesian agricultural schools”.

A fundraiser was launched to build the monument, which was very successful. The estimated sum was £ 200,000 (Italian Lira), soon reached with donations, and with the City of Turin which alone contributed £ 20,000. The international competition for the choice of the project was then started.

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Among 59 candidates, after several rounds, Gaetano Cellini of Ravenna won; better than the other competitors he had been able to capture the spirit of charity that had permeated the Saint's activity. The inauguration was majestic: a large audience, lively and sincere enthusiasm from all present. For the occasion, the event's organizing committee also had a scenographic lighting system installed which involved the monument, the church of Mary Help of Christians and the adjacent oratory.

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23 May 1920: Inauguration

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Slovakia

DONATED FACE MASKS HELPED IN PANDEMIC AT HOME AND WORLDWIDE front-line nurse was involved in the event, and even an oncology patient. Everybody was looking for ways to help», said Katarína Pirohová, a volunteer from Prešov, describing her experience.

(ANS – Bratislava)

The challenges of these days did not leave many past pupils and Salesian family members in Slovakia cold, helping their neighbours as conditions permit. One of the opportunities to help was the project “Let’s Donate a Face Mask”. Its goal was to collect 10 x 150 face masks – as a sign of the anniversary that the past pupils in the world commemorate this year.

«My husband started to sew, and the older daughter learned to sew as well, so there was a battle for the sewing machine at home», says Lenka Klingová, a volunteer who joined the project with the whole family. «My friend Danka helped to make the cords and ironed hundreds of meters of bias tape. Younger children also helped with packaging; it became a series production, so it was a pleasant family activity in the end. We have received a lot from God, we have something to return».

However, the will to get involved in the aid was even greater and within a few days, 2,871 face masks were collected.

Volunteers from several places in Slovakia packed each face mask into a separate package containing instructions for its safe use and a picture with the relics of Fr Titus Zeman and Anka Kolesárová. In several cities, various components of the Salesian family, such as Salesian collaborators or members of ADMA, were involved in the project.

Past pupils delivered face masks with silver fibre to Salesians as a priority.

They also supported projects of peripheral interest - the Roma community in Plavecký Štvrtok and the marginalized community project in Nitra - Orechov Dvor, where Salesians sisters operate. In distributing aid, they also thought of friends in the countries most affected by the coronavirus in Europe. Almost 700 face masks were sent to Salesians in the city of Leon, Spain. More than 600 face masks went to the Salesian communities in Costanta, Romania. One consignment of face masks was also sent

«It was amazing to see how quickly women of all ages, professions and statuses were mobilized. An 88-year-old lady sewed a face mask, but also a 4-year-old girl using her toy machine. It is admirable what numbers of face masks young mothers who sat at the machine in the evenings were able to make, despite having small children and teaching their school kids at home. A busy

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to Italy. Some of the face masks with the logo of Don Bosco were also sent to the main Salesian house in Rome to Fr Eusebio Muñoz who was requested to distribute them among the fellow brothers. The social project of Slovak Past Pupils called “Let's Give a smile”, which is always held in the Advent, thus received an exceptionally new set of contours. Thanks to more than 40 involved donors, including the past pupils and the Salesian family from different parts of Slovakia, the Sisters of Charity and the School Sisters of Notre Dame, the initiators responded to the need for extreme caution and security during the coronavirus pandemic at its inception. «I knew that many of the past pupils were actively involved in their communities, for example helping older people with shopping, but I was thinking about doing something together. Our current anniversary automatically directed us towards the amount we wanted to collect - 10 x 150. The fact that in the end, the number of face masks was double – almost 3,000 – only shows that our members are open to help their neighbours and are able to react quickly», says the President of the Past Pupils Association and the initiator of the charitable project Róbert Mruk. Simona Hrabošová, Michal Nemcek

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Italy

(ANS – Turin)

LOCKDOWN AT VALDOCCO IS A SPECIAL GRACE FOR DOZENS OF SDBS

Although General Chapter 28 concluded more than one month ago, at the moment 46 “survivors” (provincials and delegates) of GC28 are still living, working, praying and witnessing to their Salesian vocation at Valdocco. Most of them are GC28 delegates from South Asia - India, some from Latin America of from Eastern Europe, including also one PGS delegate and 3 Salesians from East Timor. Here Fr Robinson Parappilly, PGS Province Delegate to GC28, shares his experience. Suddenly you became part of the Valdocco community, most of you from South Asia and EAO region.

How do spend your community life? «The lockdown period is a time of special grace for each one us to spend most of our time in the Don Bosco Mother House at Valdocco. We never dreamt of spending our lives in this beautiful place. Since the time of lockdown and cancellation of all international flights, most of the SDB provincials from India are busy with their apostolic assignments and communicating with confreres in the provinces. Others try their best to contribute in different ways to helping the community. We pray for those suffering and for people affected by Covid-19 in our morning prayer and daily Mass. We help the Valdocco community by working in the reception and looking after the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians. Many devotees are coming to the Basilica to pray and to receive the sacraments. 28

At noon most of us gather together for 30 minutes of Spiritual reading taken from Don Bosco's Memoirs of the Oratory. We journey together with Don Bosco reflecting on various events that had taken place during his time at Valdocco. In the afternoon, confreres take turns to clean the basements of the Valdocco buildings, store houses, cleaning and dusting the rooms, scraping the old painting and maintenance, watering the plants and keeping the Mary Help of Christians Basilica spick and span. Every Friday we have adoration the whole day, from 8 am to 5 pm. Different provinces take turns to be present before the Blessed Sacrament and pray for the world and its healing in our pandemic times!».

What about the Oratory spirit at Valdocco during Covid-19 times? «Our Basketball Club is very active and vigorous games keep us alive and active during the evening hours. Then from 6 to 7 pm, we have daily exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and recitation of the Divine

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Mercy Chaplet. At 7 pm we have Evening prayers and Good night. A few of us are engaged in learning the Italian Mass, taught by Fr Guillermo Basanes».

How was your spiritual retreat during Holy Week? «The Valdocco community had their retreat during Holy week. During that time mostly all of us were busy helping in the community with different services. We had very beautiful Holy Week celebrations in the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians. Keeping the social distance in the Basilica, we joined all celebrations». Any other special news? «Some days ago we were surprised by the “Macau Don Bosco Past Pupils Federation” (CIN province) who sent us face surgical masks by DHL. This is a very good gift from the past pupils in China. We are grateful for their contribution and thoughtfulness». P. Robinson Parappilly PGS Inspectorate Delegate to CG28


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Hong Kong

PANDEMIC HAS BROUGHT US TOGETHER AS NEVER BEFORE Don Bosco Past Pupils motivation for solidarity

Hong Kong, China, 26 April 2020 In these times of trial, we Salesian past pupils haven’t forgotten our dear superiors. We owe a lot to these dedicated followers of Don Bosco. After the Second World War, at a time when this part of the world was poor and secondary school education was not a right but a luxury, the Salesians helped educate tens of thousands of young people in Hong Kong and Macau. Many of these young men came from backgrounds where poverty was the norm. The Salesians did their best to form them into upright citizens and good Christians, training them to be active participants in the life of the local Church and society.

Today, these past pupils, and their younger brothers, form a dedicated and devoted group. They are keen to reciprocate the love, care, and education they have received from their alma mater and their Salesian mentors.

In 2020, this mission of the past pupils is especially true, when the Salesian Family around the world is hard hit by the COVID19 pandemic that has plagued the world in the last few months. As a past pupil of St Louis School and current President of the St Louis Old Boys’ Association, I am privileged to work together with various other members of the Salesian Family in Hong Kong and Macau, to mobilize past pupils, leveraging our network in the business community, medical and other professionals, to come to the aid of the Salesians, locally and globally. The pandemic has brought us together as never before, as we are working closely with the Salesian China Province in procuring emergency equipment for the Salesian confreres, as well as teachers and students in the local schools: items such as surgical facemasks and hand sanitizers, which are indispensable in containing the spread of the virus. At the same time, funds have been tranwww.exallievi.org

sferred to Italy and Spain, and batches of surgical masks have been dispatched to the Salesians in Rome, Milan, and India to serve their urgent needs. In taking up what essentially is a mundane task, we also realize that we are called, as past pupils, to participate in the great work of making Don Bosco’s dream come true: sending Salesians to serve Chinese youths on Chinese soil. May God bless you all, through the intercession of our blessed Mother, Mary Help of Christians, and our beloved friend, Don Bosco! Should you need any further information, please do not hesitate to contact us. May God bless you all! Thank you. Per ulteriori informazioni, non esitate a contattarci. Che Dio vi benedica tutti! Grazie. Mr. Allen CHAN President of St. Louis Old Boys' Association

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Slovenia

TOMAŽ VOVKO, DON BOSCO PAST PUPIL: "We need your help and support"

(ANS - Ljubljana) Dr. Tomaž Vovko, a former pupil of the Salesian high school "St. Francis de Sales" in Želimlje and actively involved in Salesian animation programs, is now a specialist in Infectious Diseases and Intensive Medicine who works in a clinic for infectious diseases at the University Clinical Center of Ljubljana. Married, father of three, he works in the frontline among critically-ill patients with COVID-19. In an interview with Don Bosko Slovenija he answered questions concerning the pandemic, treatment and quarantine, and suggested new methods of educational and pastoral work.

«The mutations of the various viruses, explained Dr. Vovko, accompany humanity from the beginning; for this reason, he declares, the various conspiracy theories

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that circulate among people must be rejected». Speaking of the work among the criticallyill of COVID-19, among whom he works in the frontline, he underlined the importance of communication: between the sick in isolation and their families, and by doctors, called to have to communicate tactfully and with humanity the news of worsening conditions or even the death of patients. Regarding the restrictions imposed by the new coronavirus and the confinement measures, the former pupil replied that «to save lives this was essential», and cited the situations that occurred in Northern Italy, Spain and the United States.

As Past Pupil of Don Bosco, he also offers advice for the pastoral work of the Salesian Family: «We are going through difficult times in which we especially need your help. Young people may find it more diffi-

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cult to adopt these restrictions, as social contacts are important for their development. But as they already make extensive use of digital communication platforms for school, so classmates in religious education or catechism could meet», he notes.

In the forthcoming weeks, the "rigid" restrictions will probably begin to be eased and - given that a slowdown in infections is expected in the summer - "made to measure" Spiritual Exercises and summer oratories could be organized, especially outdoors, with limited contacts and a little more distance than in the past.

«Adapting programs in this direction can be an option», he explains. At the same time, autumn will come after the summer: waiting for medicines or vaccines, «it is reasonable to expect the same restrictions as now, or even more stringent».


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Spain

FAMOUS PAST PUPILS SEND MESSAGES OF ENCOURAGEMENT TO SALESIAN FAMILY

Carlos Soler

Valencia, Spain - May 2020 During these especially difficult weeks, messages of encouragement from well-known faces from the world of sports, music and entertainment have reached the Salesian houses.

These are Salesian past pupils who have become famous in various areas, such as Valencia footballer Carlos Soler, and director Paco Plaza, both past pupils of the "San Antonio Abad" Institute in Valencia.

Vicente Bombai from the Bombai band and other musicians such as Manu Tenorio, Neus Ferri and Rozalen have also recently joined. Gymnast Almudena Cid and actor JosĂŠ Mota also showed their closeness to the Salesian Family and to all the people who work in the Salesian Social Platforms.

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Francisco Plaza Trinidad

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Argentina

TAKING CARE OF THOSE WHO TAKE CARE OF US: VISORS FOR MEDICAL CENTERS

Buenos Aires, Argentina - May 2020

At the Salesian "Leone XIII" center, in the Palermo district of Buenos Aires, teachers, students and past pupils of the technical sector are producing protective plastic visors via 3D printers.

They make use of the advice and collaboration of the past pupil Santiago Arce, pulmonologist.

The visors are made with a bioplastic that serves as input for 3D printing.

As of Monday 4 May, 921 visors have been delivered to various healthcare facilities in the city of Buenos Aires. For more information, visit the website: porlosjovenes.org

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"Works are love and not good reasons": BEING CHARITABLE MEANS FINDING JESUS IN THE POOR

Peru

(ANS - Lima) There is a saying that repeats itself everywhere and returns in circumstances such as the one we are experiencing: "Works are love and not good reasons". In this pandemic period, people have become supportive. Examples abound. Young people are losing fear and looking for a way to help. Doctors, nurses, policemen, people who work in garbage collection are the heroes of our time. But we cannot forget those who continue to build hope every day in the midst of this difficult situation that many families are experiencing. Salesians from all over Peru do charity work for the most needy because "works are love". In Lima, the capital, with more than 10 million inhabitants, where the main roads are never empty, neither day or night, everything looks like a desert today. The Salesians serve in those areas where need makes young people break the law. A piece of bone can be part of a soup for over 80 kids. In fact, a past pupil donated a large amount of bones to prepare soups. In Rímac, Lima's oldest area, at the foot of the imposing hill where poverty becomes manifest and where the Salesians are also present, the Don Bosco Foundation's "Emergency Team" is active with the young Salesians of the Rímac house. «I didn't

Photo: Ayacucho

know, nor did I imagine that so many people lived on this hill», said a surprised Mr. Miguel. This is why "the famous cachangas" are prepared with flour and water, put in a pan with a little oil. «And there, on the hill, very close to the sky, we eat bread with them», he adds.

cradle of Liberty in America", the Director of the Salesian house, Fr Domingo Yanqui, and the Salesian past pupils, are doing what they have learned in Salesian classrooms: to be supportive, to work in solidarity.

In the so-called "Barrio Frigorifico", with the support of the mothers of the area, they registered the most vulnerable families - Venezuelan migrants, the elderly, children under 13 years - and gave them bags of food to survive for a few days. In Ayacucho, the city of 33 churches, "the

If "works are love and not good reasons", nothing could be done if the Salesians of today and yesterday had not impregnated the hearts of the people, not only of solidarity, but above all of "charity": because "to be charitable is to find Jesus himself in the poor", as Pope Francis says.

In the Port of Callao, where life is a miracle and where drug trafficking and use, organized crime and prostitution abound, the Salesians have not forgotten the poor.

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They put on masks and gloves and "bring sacks of food to families who have put a white cloth outside the house, as a sign that they have children and have nothing more to eat", says Alberto, a Salesian past pupil.

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S OLIDARITY - C OVID -19

Thailand

SALESIAN FAMILY UNITED IN FIGHT AGAINST COVID-19

Sisters Handmaids of the Heart of Mary Immaculate (SIHM)

Association of Mary Help of Christians (ADMA)

Daughters of the Kingship of Mary (SQM)

Daughters of the Kingship of Mary (DQM)

(ANS – Bangkok)

The crisis situation of the spread of the Covid-19 virus in Thailand is continuously getting better. The number of those infected is going down, especially in this past last week when those infected did not exceed 10 people. From the statistics as of 7 May 2020, the accumulated data are: Confirmed cases: 2,992; Deaths: 55. The Salesian Family is engaged in anti-Covid work in Thailand. The Salesians of Don Bosco, the Daughters 34

of Mary Help of Christians, the Sisters Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the Sisters of the Queenship of Mary, the Institute of the Daughters of the Queenship of Mary, the Association of Salesian Cooperators, the ADMA and the Alumni are all part of this anti-Covid-19 alliance. Even if the situation is getting better, the Thai government still upholds the measures implemented in order to control the spread of this virus. It has continued to observe the curfew from 22.00 hrs to 04.00 hrs until the end of May 2020; the gover-

EX ALLIEVI Newsflash - 24 june 2020

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Essential supplies for great needs

nment still encourages the people to stay at home; checkpoints between towns and provinces are still up, mass gathering is not allowed. Of course, the general public is still affected by these measures employed to contain the spread of the Covid-19 virus. On 28 April 2020, the Alumni Association of Huahin Vitthayalai School, Prachuabkhirikhan, together with My Garden Food Raft, distributed 800 packages of food and beverages, desserts and noodles to the peo-


S OLIDARITY - C OVID -19

ple affected by the pandemic. On 30 April 2020, the Salesians and the teaching staff of Sarasit Phithayalai School, together with the Salesian Sisters of Narivooth School - Banpong, Ratchaburi, gave 215 sets of food packages to the residents of Rong Thoop and to the others badly affected by Covid-19 in the area of Banpong town. On Saturday, 2 May 2020, the Salesian Family of Thailand, which includes the Salesians, the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, the Sisters Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the Sisters of the Queenship of Mary, the Institute of the Daughters of the Queenship of Mary, the Association of Salesian Cooperators, the ADMA group and the Alumni - these all joined hands to prepare and give out 500 packages of food and other food items to the poor and the needy people living around the area of Phra Mae Marie School - Sathupradit.

Family Groups Salesian in action

Association of Mary Help of Christians (ADMA)

Fr John Bosco Dheparat Pitisant, the Provincial, said words of gratitude to the representatives of members of the Salesian Family: ÂŤto all the participating members, I would like to express our gratitude to all for helping alleviate the hardships of the people which is in line with the advice of His Holiness the Pope and the Rector Major who invite all to help the affected people in this pandemic. All of us in the Salesian Family cannot stay inactive and not empathise. Let us be the first to participate in extending help and may we have the heart sensitive to this situation we are presently facingÂť.

Daughters of the Kingship of Mary (SQM)

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India

DEEP GURUNG: PAST PUPIL AND COMMITTED LAY PERSON: "Where there's a will, there's also a way"

(ANS - Shillong)

Deep Gurung is a Past Pupil of Don Bosco, a collaborator of "BOSCONET India" when it was led by Fr George Menamparampil, currently active as Coordinator of the Salesian Response to the Covid-19 emergency. Deep Gurung instead works for “Don Bosco Tech India” in Shillong in the Indian state of Meghalaya.

He says: «I have also done some work here... But although I did everything on my own, right from fundraising to distribution, I did it under DB Tech's name. Whatever I am today, whatever knowledge I have and whatever name I have made so far in social work in my place is all because of Don Bosco. I, being a Don Bosco student, definitely keep in mind all his teachings and he is my inspiration... But at the same time, I always remember whatever Fr George has taught us and in times like this, I always recall what he said 36

and taught and that gives me a push to move ahead with more power and belief and inspiration. I feel blessed that I worked with BoscoNet in his days.

Due to lockdown, people from rural areas are more affected than the urban people. Help was provided to the needy people of urban areas by different groups whereas the villages remained neglected. We decided to reach out to the most needy families from rural areas. For this, we contacted the headmen of different villages of West and East Khasi hills and got the details of 300 families who needed help.

We divided the whole group into three phases and started off our work. We have completed the 1st phase covering 138 families. We will soon begin our work on the 2nd and 3rd phase and by the end of this week or the beginning of the next, we will cover all 300 houses. We thank especially DB Tech India and Fr.

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George Mathew (Director DB Tech India) for his support and Mr. Stelius (past pupil DB Tech, Nongstoin, Meghalaya) who helped us in identifying the needy families and the distribution of relief material. There was no way to send the materials from the capital city as inter-district movement is restricted but the need of relief material was urgent. But with the reach that Don Bosco has because of its good work for the needy people God sent someone to help us. Thus, Mr. Stelius, our past pupil, came forward to handle the issue.

In this entire process I realised two things: 1. Where there is a will there is a way. 2. If you want to do something good for the society with no hidden agenda, then go forward with courage even if you are alone because God will send you all the help that you need – as Fr. M.C. George used to teach us in BOSCONET #stayhome #staysafe


S OLIDARITY - C OVID -19

Chennai

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S OLIDARITY - C OVID -19

Paraguay

SALESIAN SOLIDARITY IN VILLARRICA Villarrica, Paraguay - May 2020 The Salesian Family of Paraguay has organized various solidarity actions in different parts of the country to help vulnerable families during the mandatory quarantine period. For example, in the city of Villarrica, the students of the Student Center of the Salesian "Don Bosco" boarding school organized to collect food and bring snacks to children and young people from different neighborhoods. Teachers organized a large "people's lunch" for various families in the neighborhood. In addition, the past pupils of the school offered lunch to 700 local families. Solidarity activities are increasing and they all take place by adopting the necessary health security measures.

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S OLIDARITY - C OVID -19

Guatemala

PASSION FOR MEDICINE IN TIME OF COVID-19 WITHOUT FORGETTING TO BE A PAST PUPIL OF DON BOSCO: DR VENANCIO DE LEÓN

"Alberto Marvelli Foundation", which manages and administers the "Father Bartolomé Ambrosio Vocational Training Center, SDB".

«In addition to his professional qualities as a doctor, past pupil and person, Doctor Venancio has a great Salesian formation and human quality», wrote Raúl Vázquez. And these characteristics, he lives them like a true professional with a Salesian formation in the midst of this pandemic.

(ANS - Guatemala City) On more than one occasion, Pope Francis raised a prayer for all those who work for the sick, especially the medical staff and health workers who are doing everything possible to help patients affected by Coronavirus. «I received a message from a priest from Bergamo», commented the Pope, «asking to pray for the doctors of Bergamo, Treviglio, Brescia, Cremona, who are at the limit of their work; they are giving their lives to help the sick, to save the lives of others».

The stories of doctors who give their lives to save the sick is a reality. This is the case

of Doctor Venancio de León, a past pupil of Don Bosco. In March, approximately 50,000 digital screens illuminated the facades of the most emblematic buildings of nearly twenty Chinese cities with the faces of healthcare professionals who assisted patients infected with Covid-19. «There is no doubt, medical professionals are the great heroes of this story», wrote journalist Lea A of redEMC. In fact, Doctor Venancio is one of these heroes. On 24 January 2019, Dr Venancio ended his mandate as President of the National Association of Past Pupils (both male and female) of Don Bosco, who also chaired the www.exallievi.org

«Dr. Venancio now works with COVID-19 patients, leaving his family to go to a hospital that is 5 hours from the capital and then he returns to do the same in the hospital that has national responsibility for the infected», explains Raúl Vásquez, Director of the "Bartolomé Ambrosio SDB Center". «He is always smiling, he always talks about Don Bosco, Artemide Zatti, the Virgin Help of Christians. He is a doctor who lives an extraordinary spirituality and with truly admirable serenity».

In Guatemala, Covid-19 cases have increased and amounted to 5,500 cases in the last few days. Faced with this situation, Dr Venancio «is a doctor who lives to serve others, he is not a wealthy doctor, his work is among the poorest, among the Salesians, among the seminarians, among the people of the working class, who sometimes can't pay for his service. He is a past pupil of Don Bosco who lives the Salesian education received», says Mr. Vásquez.

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S OLIDARITY - C OVID -19

Indonesia

CROWN VIRUS PANDEMIC STARTED ON MARCH 2

Salesian Cooperators sewing masks

Distributions of donations to elderly

The corona virus pandemic in Indonesia began with the discovery of covid 19 patients on March 2, 2020. Now, approximately 11,192 positive covid cases have been confirmed with 8,471 active cases, 1,876 recovering cases, and 845 deaths.

specially in meeting the basic needs of daily life such as food and medicine.

Several regions in Indonesia have imposed large-scale social restrictions (PSBB). Almost all types of businesses including factories are required to close, all office work is done at home, education is also done online from home. Consequently, many people were laid off from work, the streets looked deserted, only food delivery vehicles bringing basic needs of the people were allowed to operate. For those whose lives are highly dependent on daily income such as factory workers, construction workers, online transportation drivers, street vendors, peddlers, this pandemic caused their lives more difficult, 40

Many social organizations and private groups immediately took the initiative to help these people spared from these economic difficulties and hunger. They distributed basic needs in the form of staple food, masks and sanitizers.

Salesain Cooperators sewing masks

As part of the community, the salesians, together with Salesian Cooperators working hand in hand even with other organizations in the prevention of the spread of the Corona virus. The salesian cooperator organizes making masks made of cloth; Friends of Don Bosco together with the parishioners of st. Yohanes Bosco parish are raising funds to buy basic necessities of life and distribute them to underprivileged families and people directly affected by this pandemic. Let us continue pray that the hard times of Pandemic Corona Virus is soon over.

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Friends of Don Bosco with Parishoners of St. John Bosco Parish preparing masks and sanitizers, soaps

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S OLIDARITY - C OVID -19

Fr. Joseph Ola SDB with Friends of Don Bosco collecting and Distributing donations (basic necessities) for families affected by the pandemic

Distributions of donations to families

Distributions of donations to Online Transportations drivers and vendors

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F EAST OF M ARY H ELP OF C HRISTIANS

Ecuador

HELP THE CHRISTIANS OF AND MOTHER PRAY FOR US From the Middle East to the sunset over the Pacific waters, from the far polar North to the Argentine Patagonia, passing through the white Alps up to the Santiago’s walk, raising sand through African Sahara up to the banks of the Nile, from ancient India walking through high Nepal and China, across the American plains, the Andes and the Amazon rainforest, from the mouths of Her devotees, the good news has already arrived, the Mother of the Son of God She’s also the Mother of Salesians.

That there is no doubts, as the Founder has affirmed, because the Virgin Mary is the companion and the friend of the dream diary, any supplications that is addressed to Her reaches the mercy of God, because He placed in Her His trust and never Mary disappointed Him, carrying the child who was then the Redeemer, the pain of a mother She suffered, and the human solace never was, at the foot of a wooden cross She loved Christ till the end and with her sacred garment She wiped the tears from her face.

That brave Jewish woman whose heart was wounded by suffering, was the first to become the helper of the sinner, the followers of Jesus Christ asked Her for Her protection and for generations they have been asking again for it. Holy Mary, help of the Christians and Mother of God. The Virgin helper of Don Bosco and divine inspiration of his, She, patron saint of the disadvantaged, sweet teacher of the educator, shelter for the wayfarer, refuge and comfort for the afflicted.

Salesians, collaborators and Alumni, and all those who gave you help, You have been proclaimed helper of mankind, because Your love is limitless and it came for everyone, and in these times of illness, unemployment and poverty Your protection we invoke Mother Helper and Teacher, turn Your sweet and special gaze to the Salesian world and make sure that no Salesian collaborator is affected by the pandemic. Help of the Christians and Mother, pray for us. Dr. Fredi Portilla Farfán (Feast of Saint Mary Help of Christians, 2020)

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F EAST OF M ARY H ELP OF C HRISTIANS

CALLED TO FORM A GREAT CHAIN OF SALVATION

Chile

(ANS - Santiago) In the last five months humanity has experienced a period of uncertainty due to the spread of Covid-19. Millions of people have been infected and thousands have lost their lives due to the pandemic. These are difficult times when the faith of millions of believers has been tried and tested. In response, the Church has firmly set foot into the digital courtyards, so as not to lose communion with the people of God who were forced to stay in their homes for security reasons. The Salesian Province of Chile (CIL) has broadcast the celebrations of Lent, Holy Week, and Easter through social networks and continues to accompany the Salesian Family. Last Sunday, May 24, it celebrated once again, online, the Feast of Mary Help of Christians, broadcast simultaneously through Facebook and Youtube. It enjoyed the digital participation of over 1,400 people, who connected to invoke the intercession of the Holy Virgin together. The Eucharist was presided over in the Shrine of Mary Help of Christians in Santiago by Fr Victor Mora, Director of the Salesian center in Alameda, and was concelebrated by the Salesians of the local religious community. In his homily, the Provincial of the Salesians in Chile, Fr Carlo Lira, broadcast by

the community of the Theologate of Lo Cañas, focused his message on the connection between God, His mother, and us.

«In short, God is our Help, everyone's Savior. He helped Mary so that she could be our Help of Christians. Therefore, we too can help others. Consequently, between God, Our Lady, and us, an immense and formidable chain of help, of Salvation, is formed: our Help (God), the Help of Christians (Mary), and the helpers (us)... When we approach Mary Help of Christians, she welcomes us as a mother, but also encourages us to help others».

The quarantine and social distances did not prevent the groups of the Salesian Family from being present online at this celebration: Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, Volunteers of Don Bosco, Salesian Cooperators, Past Pupils of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians and Past Pupils of

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Don Bosco, members of the Association of Mary Help of Christians (ADMA), of the Community of the Don Bosco Mission, of Cançao Nova, of the groups Meeting of the Fathers in the Spirit (EPE) and Meeting of the Mothers in the Spirit (EME) and of the "Hogares Don Bosco" retreats gave life to the Liturgy of the Word, to the Eucharist, and to universal prayer, demonstrating once again the great diversity of talents and the communion of spirit that exists within the Salesian Family in Chile. The Eucharist ended with an invitation to participate in the 2020 online collection of the Don Bosco Foundation of Chile, which will be held in June to help children, young people and adults in the city streets. The recording and broadcast of the Mass was carried out thanks to the joint effort of the Salesian Family, the communication area and the "Caeteratolle" multimedia center.

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G OOD C HRISTIANS AND H ONEST C ITIZENS

Italy

“THIS IS THE PLACE WHERE GOOD CHRISTIANS AND HONEST CITIZENS ARE FORMED”

«We are proud to belong all to the great Salesian Family». This is the statement of three Alumni (Roberto, Piero and Sandro) + 1 (Simonetta). In fact, in the wake of the testimony of Roberto Buccione - at the time goer of the Salesian Oratory of Cinecittà (Rome) - realeased in the latest issue of “Alumni Newsflash”, here are the memories of his two brothers and of Sandro’s wife, all goers of the same oratorian context. straight from America, gift of who knows who to our Oratory.

They were our pride and in the different Roman basket courts we wore them, slightly full of ourselves, attracting to us some envy and a lot of admiration.

When I was asked to bring my experience of oratorian, I immediately thought about what it was the more important aspect to analyze: the one of a young teenager who was growing in a district in full development, Don Bosco in Cinecittà; of a boy who loved sports, in my case Basketball, of a young Christian in formation; of a kid full of energy who, after having made his homework, was always repeating to his mother: “Bye, Mum… I go to the Oratory!”. I will have said it thousands of times, so many have been the afternoons, the Sundays, the long sunny summers which have saw me walk the 400 meters between home and the door of the oratory. My attendance of the oratory begins when 44

I was 10, starting from about 1964 until 1978.

At the beginning, in the young neighbourhood all under construction, it was the only let off steam for the youth, the only possibility, apart from the common lawn, to kick a ball with a real goal net, to meet friends and, for me, to score a basket or, at least try to in hours and hours of play, of scraped knees, of broken glasses stems.

And so the championships began, with my team which, unique in Italy I think, took the field in tracksuits, to say the least, wonderful: light blue, of satin cloth, the jackets with buttons and pants with wide legs and little buttons on the side, which came

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In many years I can say we always proudly brought, and with good results, the name of the Cinecittà oratory of Don Bosco both in the city and in the province and even in other regions… Oh, yes, because in some occasions we also went out of region to play finals…

It was a ferment, the oratory, full of plays and of social and religious activities. All of them with the right times, without any forcing: the Mass, the weekly meeting with the many priests, the workouts, the catechism.

Boredom wasn’t at home within the walls of the oratory, hundreds of young people followed one another. Some of them came in and run off at once, but many of them came in and stayed and formed themselves. I always agreed with those who said that we are all people who, in life, have met those with whom we talked, argued, reaso-


G OOD C HRISTIANS AND H ONEST C ITIZENS

National final Don Bosco Cinecittà - Don Bosco Crocetta Turin

Preliminary stages

The Oratory in 1960

ned; there has been who struck us, sometimes wounded us, who suggested us the right path, who made us see the injustice.

Yes. I have had my mentor in the oratory, I grew up with him for years, the years of the formation: a special person who, unfortunately, passed away last January. I’m talking about Don Lorenzo Scarfone, a unique priest: tough the necessary, sweet the necessary, tender and severe. With him I spent the years of the summer camps, I met the slum-dwellers; yeah, because one kilometer from us there were the slum dwellers and Father Lorenzo brought us to know them, he made us talk to them, visit their shacks, meet their chil-

dren eyes and figure out how we could have humbly shared with them some necessities.

I have known a lot of priests who supported us in the activities of the oratory, who accompanied us in the different initiatives, I remember a young Salesian, Father Gerry Luce who has been with us for about two years, he was enthusiastic, engaging. American accent, first one to use the audiovisuals in his meetings, a wonderful person. But Don Lorenzo,

I insist, he has been unique, and I owe much of who I am to him. With him I became coach of the boys of 1960, their elder browww.exallievi.org

ther, a humble example for their adolescence. And Don Lorenzo was always there to advise me, to correct me, to spur me. Then he left for Madagascar to be a missionary among the last.

Time has passed, everyone has taken their own way, the families absorbed all energy, the oratory has modified over the years, like everything. Every now and then I walk past that front door and I always see what is written, high, at the entrance, clearly visible… “This is the place where good Christians and honest citizens are formed”. Piero Buccione

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G OOD C HRISTIANS AND H ONEST C ITIZENS

ORATORY OF DON BOSCO CINECITTÀ Christian example of Don Bosco to the different social problems, from solidarity to voluntary work, from the relationship with our peers to that with our parents.

Like my brothers Roberto and Piero, I too, at the age of 10, started to attend the Salesian Oratory of Don Bosco.

The Youth Center, at that time (1976) was one of the very few meeting point of the neighborhood and, years later, I can say I have been very lucky having had a facility where you can spend your free time after school, play sports, meet friends whom I hang out with even now, have the opportunity to follow a Christian educational path, which gave me values that have helped me in my character training.

All of this thanks to the priests who have followed one another in the supervision and management of the Center and to the volunteer entertainers who used their free time in organizing ours. How could I forget persons like Father Lorenzo Scarfone, Father Vincenzo Ledda, Father Franco Marsoner! The latter, especially, has always been there in my 46

more important personal moments, the beautiful ones like my marriage and my sons’ christenings and the delicate ones, such as the losses of our parents, they too goers of the oratory as Salesian collaborators. Still today you can meet Father Franco in the courtyard of Decemviri Square with his countless keys that he rotates vortically as if they were a handgun, always ready to a personal talk and to enliven the reunions of former-oratorians.

How could I forget, also, the older young men, who in addition to learning us the first rudiments of several sports disciplines, organized tournaments inside the Center to then address us to those of the different CONI Federations, obtaining excellent results; they took care of our formation as well; in fact along with the workouts there were always some spiritual meetings or during summer they organized summer camps where they suggested various subjects of discussion which ranged from the

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In conclusion, the oratory has been my reference point for many years, from basketball player first, to coach-educator then; besides my family environment, I have had another sound place where I could grow up and where I contributed to make grow up the kids younger than me and, most important thing, it’s there that I met Simonetta, my wife with whom we have arrived to the 25th year of marriage and who has donated me two wonderful children, Alessio and Mattia.

«Having been mentioned, I too would like to share my experience of goer of the oratory. I’m Simonetta, Sandro’s wife and I started to attend the oratory at the age of 14 years. For us “a Gallehault indeed” was the theatre performance: “We Are Party People” inspired by Don Bosco’s life. Yeah, the oratory was also this: singing, dancing and acting and this is why that place had a great appeal during the time of my adolescence. The friends I met at that time are still my friends of now and the figure of Don Bosco whom I discovered and learnt to love during the most beautiful years of my life, keeps on being an important mentor in my teacher job». Sandro Buccione e Simonetta Nardi


G OOD C HRISTIANS AND H ONEST C ITIZENS

Sandro awarded by Galluccio mythical executive and marching judge

Simonetta in a choral performance at the Don Bosco Cinematheatre

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Representation of the Marquis del Grillo

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N EWS

Macau

INSTITUTO SALESIANO STARTS REBUILDING (2020-2024) was presented with a photo slide show, focusing on the changes in school building and structures. In the second session, a review on the project’s planning, implementation and overall program was presented. Lastly, the ground-breaking ceremony brought the event to a memorable ending, and yet another new beginning of Don Bosco’s work in the new century.

(ANS – Macau) Founded in 1906, the first Salesian work in South China, the “Instituto Salesiano” in Macau, a primary and secondary school, is undergoing an extension construction project, aiming to provide up-to-date quality Salesian education for the youth of Macau. The Instituto Salesiano is actually the “Mother House” of the China province, the first Salesian house (school-orphanage) entrusted to the Salesians in 1906 (first rector was Saint Louis Versiglia, leader of the first missionary expedition to East Asia - Macau, China). On 24 May 2020, though under the dark shadow of Covid-19, principal Fr Joseph Chow Pak-Fai managed to hold the commencement ceremony of the extension construction project, successfully marking a new endeavour in Don Bosco’s work for the second century.

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Looking back with gratitude, Fr Joseph expressed his deepest thanks to the former supervisor, Fr Pedro Ho Kuong-Ling, who envisioned urgent needs for a transformative and innovative development of school education, while the school was celebrating the centennial in 2006. Without Fr Ho’s vision, this project possibly might not have happened. Fr Joseph also extended his special thanks to the present supervisor Fr Francis Hung Chi-Kong, for his continual support and prayers for this project. Though the day before was a day of thunderstorms, the ceremony took place in favourable conditions, cloudy yet windy. “Thanks to Mary, Help of Christian”, Fr Joseph added. «It is truly a special blessing from our heavenly mother indeed». The ceremony comprised three sessions. In the first session, a brief school history

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The entire project will be implemented in two phases: the first phase includes the demolition of the old structure built in the 1920s, and it will be rebuilt with new facilities to improve the primary education. Furthermore, a new 7-floor facility will be built for the secondary section to provide a more comprehensive education. The second phase includes the demolition of the old structure of the present secondary section building, and a new 4-floor facility will be built. The whole construction project is expected to be completed in the year of 2024. The Alumni of ISM are deeply involved in the present education and pastoral work of their Alma Mater and were well represented in this special ceremony of rebuilding their old school buildings, hundred years old. Among the 4 novices of the China province (2019-2020) is also one Past Pupil of this school.


N EWS

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I NTERVIEW

Philippines

ANDRE LAUNIO, YOUNG OBSERVER AT 28TH GENERAL CHAPTER (ANS – Manila) Andre Launio is a young animator of the Salesian Youth Movement of the Northern Philippines (FIN), a past pupil of the Salesian Technical Institute of Mandaluyong. At 22 he was selected among the 15 young people from all over the world who participated as an observer in the 28th General Chapter of the Salesian Congregation. Here is what he reports of that experience, of his contribution, of his dreams for the Congregation and the Salesian Family. What is your dream for the formation of consecrated Salesians – Brothers and Priests? «I hope and pray that the SDB formation will give more emphasis with regards to addressing crucial concerns and relevant

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issues that the youth is significantly affected by. The thought that the youth of today has different problems compared to the youth of yesterday, should be greatly emphasized. Salesians need to adapt to modern times. I hope and pray that the formation for Salesians will strengthen future candidates to be firm with the teachings of the Church while at the same time, practice in their community life, the culture of inclusivity».

What is your dream about the shared mission among SDB – Mission partners and young people?

«Salesians have significantly guided young people academically and spiritually. They genuinely personify God’s love for the young. However, Salesians have overlooked the innate desire of young people to be

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of service to God and the capacity of young people to be a part of their mission. Like what the youth present in the General Chapter 28 said, “We are complementary to the mission, not a separate part of the mission”. I dream of a time where the Salesians engage the youth in essential and important decision-making. I dream of a day where Salesians and Lay mission partners work hand in hand in bringing more people closer to God, especially to the places where our faith hasn't flourished yet. I hope and pray that the culture of "Desk Salesians" is permanently eradicated. Together with the Lay mission partners, Salesians should be present with the Young and journey with them fight alongside Lay mission partners, and not command the Lay mission partners to do a specific task».


I NTERVIEW

“We, the young, are complementary to the mission, not a separate part of the mission” Your experience talking to the GC28 delegates?

«The experience that I've had being with my fellow youth from different parts of the world, made me realize how big the impact of Don Bosco's work had reached. Regardless of what country, traditions, and customs we came from, the Fatherly love and charism of Don Bosco was radiantly alive.

Initially, there was a getting to know phase. But after sometime, we've genuinely felt that we were brothers and sisters because of the familiarity we had with Don Bosco and his impact in our lives. The connection was swiftly established for we never felt that we are different from each other because we are part of Don Bosco's family. Interacting with them widened my horizon with regards to the realities and hardships

that each and every setting is facing. There is this reality that while one setting is enjoying religious freedom, another is struggling to practice daily their faith and express themselves due to various reasons (Government, Christianity being a minority in their country, etc.).

After exchanging stories with them, it inspired me to be grateful for the things that we are currently experiencing and enjoying, and it enabled me to not turn a blind eye with my brothers and sisters who are currently facing hardships and trials».

Expectations from the process after the General Chapter?

«The General Chapter was indeed wonderful and promising. The ideas and insights of each and every delegate truly reflected the situation or current status of the Salesians

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today. It paved the way for Salesians to address the alarming issues that youth are facing today, and it helped the Salesians to be relevant in the youth's complex but still humane digital world.

The only concern that I have is the implementation of the things that were discussed to each province. I hope and pray that with every discovery and every insight that were learned, may it be successfully implemented in all provinces, and in all communities/parishes/schools/institutions that the provinces are attending to. It is but necessary for each Salesian to reflect and discern the path to take with regards to the fruits that the 28th General Chapter has produced. It must be emphasized that it is by journeying with the young that we will be able to fulfill what God and what Don Bosco would want us to do to better serve the young».

EX ALLIEVI Newsflash - 24 june 2020

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S ALESIAN F AMILY

THANKSGIVING AND APPOINTMENT OF FR EUSEBIO MUÑOZ as Procurator of Salesian Mission Office in Madrid sure the highest quality, carrying out the important task the Rector Major has entrusted to him. As we say in Spain, we're in good hands».

In a message to the whole Salesian Family, he then expressed gratitude to all those with whom he shared his years of service as Director in the "Don Bosco" Community of the Vice Province of the Salesian Pontifical University (UPS) for 11 years, and the last 6 years with the Salesian Family.

(ANS - Rome) On 8 May, the Rector Major, Fr Ángel Fernández Artime, publicly thanked Fr Eusebio Muñoz for his service as Delegate of the Rector Major for the Salesian Family for six years and he announced his appointment as Director and Procurator of the Salesian Mission Office in Madrid, Spain. In a letter addressed to the Salesians, Fr Juan Carlos Pérez Godoy, Councilor for the Mediterranean Region, wrote: «First of all, I wish to affirm that the Rector Major has appointed Fr Eusebio Muñoz Ruíz as Procurator of the Salesian Mission Office of Madrid. Up to now, Fr Muñoz has been the Delegate of the Rector Major for the Salesian Family» 52

This new role as Procurator is undoubtedly of great importance and relevance in this historical moment.

«My thanks cannot be understood as a mandatory and formal gesture», said Fr Muñoz. «It did me much good to participate in the generous work of many people and to see the permanent response of our groups to God. The kindness you have had with me and the generosity of your accompanying have made the job easier and more enjoyable. The Lord, through you, has been generous to me. Thank you».

As a Salesian said to Fr Eusebio, this assignment «will require a lot of work, but I believe that you'll be able to carry out this service with the good tenacity that characterizes you, with the creativity that these new In recent years, Fr Muñoz has been one of the post-pandemic times require, and with an great animators of the Salesian Family. identity marked by the Salesianity you don». He has traveled all over the world, animating In a letter sent to the Salesian Family, which and training those responsible for the Salehe has served in recent years, Fr Muñoz than- sian Family in each Province of the 7 Salesian ked all the groups, leaders and superiors of Regions. the branches of the Salesian Family and invited everyone to accompany the new Delegate He is now concluding his six-year term by giof the Rector Major, Fr Joan Lluís Playà. ving the Salesian Congregation a book: "The «I'm convinced that Father Joan Lluís will en- Salesian Family of Don Bosco".

EX ALLIEVI Newsflash - 24 june 2020

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S ALESIAN F AMILY

JOAN LLUÍS PLAYÀ I MORERA New World Delegate for the Salesian Family (ANS - Rome) During the Good Night on Friday 8 May at the end of the General Council session, the Rector Major, Fr Angel Fernandez Artime, announced the appointment of Fr Joan Lluís Playà as the New World Delegate for the Salesian Family. Born in Terrassa (Barcelona) in 1947, a past pupil of the Salesian House at Terrassa, he joined the Salesians in 1966 and was ordained a priest in 1977. He has studied pedagogy, adult formation, pastoral and spiritual theology and completed a degree in moral theology at the Faculty of Theology in Barcelona. 1969-1972. Member of the community council at Sant Vicenç dels Horts and Girona, formator of the aspirants and teacher at Girona.

1988-1994. Rector of the community, teacher, and in charge of the work in Andorra.

nity, teacher, person in charge of the work and Provincial Delegate for Communications.

1994-2000. Rector of the community, teacher and in charge of the Work at Sarrià, Barcelona, and from 1997 to 2000 a Provincial Councillor (Barcelona).

2011-2015. Regional Assistant to the VDB

2000-2006. Provincial Councillor (Barcelona).

He was called to headquarters in Rome by the Rector Major, from 2015 to 2020, as the Central Assistant of the VDB and CDB. He was also secretary of the Mediterranean Region.

1975-1981. In charge of studies for the youngsters at the school and of pastoral ministry, as well as teacher and formator of the aspirants. He animated a Catholic community on the outskirts, at Terrassa (Barcelona).

2000-2003 Vice provincial. In charge of schools

1981-1982. Assistant to the novices at Terrassa (Barcelona). 1982-1988 Member of the Provincial Council (Barcelona).

From 2006 to 2014 he was at Andorra and Rocafort, Barcelona. Provincial Councillor, Youth Ministry Delegate. Also, from 20072010 he served as Rector of the commu-

2003-2006 Formation Delegate

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2014-2015 Provincial Council (SMX). Councillor and Delegate for the Salesian Family.

Together with his new responsibility, he will continue as the Central Assistant of the VDB and CDB. The Rector Major expressed his gratitude for the service provided by Fr Eusebio Muñoz, who has been the World Delegate for the Salesian Family in the Congregation from 2014 until today.

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EX ALLIEVI Newsflash

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

Director and Editor EX ALLIEVI Newsflash Opera Salesiana Teresa Gerini Via Tiburtina, 994 - 00156 Roma (Italia) tel. (+39) 06.409.003 Internet: www.exallievi.org

General House Salesian headquarters Via Marsala, 42 - 00185 Roma (Italia) tel. (+39) 06.656.121 Centralino Fax (+39) 06.656.12.556 Internet: www.sdb.org E-mail: rmg@sdb.org

Direction and Editorial Coordination Pierluigi Lazzarini newsflash@exallievi.org pierluigi.2208@tiscali.it

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, Piero Buccione, Sandro Buccione, Allen Chan, Fredi Portilla Farfàn, Simona Hrabošová, don Václav Klement SDB, Simonetta Nardi, Michal Nemcek, don Robinson Parappilly SDB, Sandra Pistilli, Gianfrancesco Romano, don Rosario Salerno SDB, Nisaury Ventura

Photography and Images Archivio Agenzia ANS, AustraLasia

The quarterly magazine (Italian, English, Spanish, French and Portuguese) is available on the official website www.exallievi.org in these deadlines: DECEMBER 25 (Holy Christmas); EASTER OF RESURRECTION; JUNE 24 (birth of former students); OCTOBER 5 (Blessed A. Marvelli)

Privacy notice: we process your personal data to the extent of your name, surname and email address, on the basis of Article 6 section 1 f) of the GDPR (legitimate interest in informing the organisation’s members on events, news and updates regarding our organisation and the Salesian family), or, as the case may be, on the basis of your consent, exclusively for the purpose determined above, i.e. informing its members on events, news and updates regarding the organisation and the Salesian family via a newsletter. The controller of the personal data is the association Confederazione Mondiale Ex Allievi Don Bosco with its seat at Via Della Pisana 111, 00163 Rome, Italy [Via Tiburtina, 994 - 00156 Roma (Italia)], Identification No.: 97066620580, email office@exallievi.org, phone No.+421 915 966 549. Your personal data are not provided to third parties, are not transferred to third countries or international organisations. Your personal data do not make part of an automated decision-making or profiling. The processing of your personal data is not a statutory or contractual requirement, nor a requirement necessary to enter into a contract; you are not obliged to provide us with your personal data. We shall process your personal data until you exercise your right to object to the processing / withdraw your consent. In case you wish to know more about the processing, please do not hesitate to contact us. If you do not wish to receive our newsletters you are entitled, at any time, without any conditions or costs, to object to the processing / withdraw your consent, by sending an email to office@exallievi.org

Translations

Ag. ANS - Sandra Pistilli

Ag. ANS - Nisaury Ventura

Ag. ANS - don Rosario Salerno

Ag. ANS - Nisaury Ventura

con Don Bosco

con Don Bosco

avec Don Bosco

com Don Bosco

150 anni

ITALIAN EDITION

150 años

SPANISH EDITION

150 ans

FRENCH EDITION

150 anos

PORTUGUESE EDITION

Profile for Past Pupils

NF 24 giugno 2020 ENG  

NF 24 giugno 2020 ENG  

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