On May 9, 1876, the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord, Don Bosco's project to form a lay branch of educators committed to the salvation of the neediest young souls received the seal of Pope Pius IX. This year, therefore, we celebrate 140 years of the Association of Salesian Cooperators, which has over 30 thousand members in about 1,400 local centres in 11 regions of the world.
Don Bosco had conceived and developed the idea of Salesian Cooperators years before; but he had to wait until the times were more attuned to his radical idea of a movement made up of laity and clergy working together for the salvation of young people in danger.
The creativity of Don Bosco marked the style of Salesian Cooperators from the beginning: - there were teachers, sports coaches, theatre and music artists, catechists and mothers, people from all walks of life and backgrounds.
In the course of these 140 years the Salesian Cooperators have faithfully followed the project of Don Bosco and have lived out the legacy. Several figures of holiness have arisen from the Association, from Don Bosco’s mother and his first ‘cooperator’, the Venerable Mamma Margaret and continuing with the Venerable Attilio Giordani and Edvige Carboni, the Blessed Alexandrina da Costa and Giuseppe Toniolo, St. Joseph Marello, Founder of the Oblates of St. Joseph.
140 years on, the Salesian Cooperators are still compassionate, vibrant people, committed to their faith and passionate contributors to the Salesian mission.
Please pray for the safe return of Fr Tom Uzhunnalil SDB, kidnapped by ISIS in Yemen
March 30, 2016
Government officials in India have reportedly received a ransom note from the Islamic State, demanding millions of dollars for the safe return of Father Tom Uzhunnalil, the Salesian priest who was abducted in Yemen earlier this month.
Since Father Uzhunnalil (who is a native of India) was seized in a brutal attack on a nursing home in Aden, there have been no reliable reports about his condition or his whereabouts. For several days, rumors have circulated that he was crucified by his captors on Good Friday. Both his Salesian superiors and the apostolic vicar of Yemen have sought to squelch those rumors, emphasizing that they believe the priest remains alive.
This is a message to Chertsey from our Rector Major with a translation below
Dearest Friends, the youth, educators, Salesian brothers of Chertsey and anybody within the Salesian family that will see this.
I am very happy to be able to respond to this request that has been made to send my warmest regards for the Bicentenary celebrations of Don Bosco's birth.
It is a very big and significant occasion to make the most of this grace that this bicentenary year brings.
We have welcomed Pope Francis' visit to in our Salesian home of Turin, Valdocco these last three days.
Dearest friends, this is an opportunity to remind you of two very simple things, every Salesian house has meaning and can be justified if they are unconditionally at the service of every young person.
If we find the good in them, if we help them to grow in life, if we genuinely help them to find their place in life.
To open themselves up to a solid and profoundly human and Christian life.
Just as Don Bosco would say, "honourable citizens and good Christian's".
I congratulate you on the beautiful work that you do and I ask that you continue to grow within your Salesian identity.
I invite you to make your Salesian Chertsey another Valdocco, just as the Valdocco of Turin and not to neglect bringing the young closer to Jesus, this is our fundamental existence, to help the young to also find God's presence in their lives.
Happy celebrations and I hope you continue to make a beautiful journey.
With my kindest regards, love and prayers with Christ our Lord, Mary Help of
Christians, Don Bosco for all of you and your families and our communities.
Happy Bicentenary celebrations.
Some time ago, John Hunt developed a series of reflections under the title of ‘One Heart’, as part of his work on our Salesian Spirituality Team. These reflections were all based on the life of St. Mary Mazzarello and were sent out to Salesian Family.
John has now put all of these reflections together to form one programme called ‘Discover’.
Within this programme there are seven themes, or seven different sessions. Each theme provides reading material, scripture and questions for reflection or discussion. This is a wonderful resource for groups who meet to share their Salesian Spirituality together and might be useful for your Cooperators' group.