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From the Acting Co-Principal
Don Bosco: Then and Now
This year we celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of St John Bosco who is the founder of the Salesians and the continued inspiration and yardstick on which we measure our success as an educational institution at Salesian College Chadstone.
The significance of this year to the Salesian family worldwide is summed up in the opening message at the start of the year, given by Father Ángel Fernández Artime, SDB, Rector Major of the Salesian Congregation and the 10th Successor of Don Bosco. Fr Artime visited Melbourne recently and met with a number of Salesian College staff and students. The following address was given August 16 at Colle Don Bosco, near Turin, Italy.
“199 years ago, on a day like today, a child came into the world, John Melchior Bosco, in these very hills, the son of humble peasant folk. Today, as we begin the Bicentenary of this historical event, we thank God profoundly for what he did through his intervention in history, in the real history of these hills that make up the Becchi. In one of the articles of the Salesian Constitutions, it says that “With a feeling of humble gratitude, we believe that the Society of St Francis de Sales came into being not merely as a human venture but by the initiative of God… Through the motherly intervention of Mary the Holy Spirit raised up St John Bosco to contribute to the salvation of youth. The Spirit formed within him the heart of a father and teacher, capable of total self-giving … The Church has acknowledged God’s hand in this, especially by approving our Constitutions and proclaiming our Founder a saint.”
…Today we find ourselves as the Salesian Family of Don Bosco, a Salesian Religious Family, along with many civic and Church authorities, friends of Don Bosco, and young people, amidst these very same hills where he was born, declaring the beginning of celebrations for the Bicentenary of his birth. After three years of preparation and one of celebration, the point of arrival will be next August 16, 2015 when it will be 200 years since he came into the Church and the world for the good of young people….
We believe this Bicentenary will be an opportunity for a true pastoral and spiritual renewal in our Family, an occasion for bringing the charism to life and making Don Bosco relevant, as he has always been for the young. We believe that it will be an opportunity for living the Mission entrusted to us with renewed vigour and conviction on behalf of children, teenagers, older youth around the world, especially those most in need, the poorest and most fragile.
At Salesian College Chadstone we have been in preparation for this year along with other communities around the world for the past three years, as we examine the life and work of Don Bosco from a variety of perspectives. There are a number of events around this time at the College which will allow us to mark and celebrate this special time.
This week the principals and senior leaders of all the Salesian schools in Australia and the Pacific will gather in Melbourne to reflect upon how we are bringing Don Bosco’s vision to life in our respective school. We will learn from each other and celebrate the solidarity that we have as followers of Don Bosco. These gatherings take place every second year and are a source of inspiration and an opportunity to examine our purpose as a Salesian school.
All members of the Salesian College community, present and past, are warmly invited to gather at our College on Sunday 16 August as we join with other communities to celebrate the birth of Don Bosco 200 years ago. This day will be one of joy and friendship. Further details regarding the format of the day and how to register are contained here.
In recent weeks our newest members of the Salesian family have begun their journey with us. The Becchi program, named after the birthplace of Don Bosco, allows the Year 7 boys for 2016 to meet each other and Salesian College staff to assist their transition to our College. Staff will also be visiting every boy in their Primary school and talking with their teachers in order that that transition into the Salesian family is a smooth as possible.
No matter at what point in our journey, we all have a great debt to Don Bosco who highlighted for us the examples of Jesus and Mary Help of Christians as models to live our lives and perfect examples of teaching and working with the young. May we always remain faithful as we continue to live our and reimagine Don Bosco’s vision in our current time and culture.