150th anniversary message
Europe, 10 June 2020 -- Due to the pandemic travel restrictions the usual Salesian Family ‘Consulta’ meeting held every year in Turin around the Feast of Mary Help of Christians (May 24) did not take place. Instead, Mr Michal Hort sends a message to all other 31 Salesian Family group leaders. The President of the World Confederation of Don Bosco Past Pupils shared his greetings just one month ahead of the 150th anniversary of the Past Pupils Birthday on June 24, 1870:
“Dear Salesian Family and leaders of Salesian Family groups,
This year of 2020 is important for the Past Pupils… when we celebrate the 150 years of our existence as Past Pupils of Don Bosco, since the gift of “tazzine” (coffee cups) that Carlo Gastini brought to Don Bosco on June 24, 1870.
So now is the time to reflect on: who we are and how we share in the Salesian Family which we have been part of for 150 years. I see the Salesian family as being a little bit like a “magic” circle in which the Salesians and all the Salesian spiritual groups help young people to grow and give them teaching on Don Bosco and the Salesian Family. Then these young people will choose their vocation, to become either SDB, FMA, Cooperators… etc., or to live their life in a Salesian style with other young people and with people around them. This is how this “circle” remains alive and widens, by involving ever more people.
I am often asked how the Past Pupils belong to the Salesian Family. When we were students or lived at Salesian schools and works, we were the ones who were trained and educated. From the moment we leave these environments and become Past Pupils, we have to look for a way to remain close to Don Bosco and contribute, in our lives, to making this "circle" of the Salesian Family grow more and more. I am convinced that we are invited to support the other members of the Salesian Family but also to educate ourselves and be educators for others along with the SDB, FMA, Salesian Cooperators, VDB, CDB and others. I see that this is of huge importance for the Past Pupils – developing their sense of professionalism and competence and testifying in everyday life and our society, even on the smallest occasions, to our motto that is also the title of this year’s Strenna: “being good Christians and upright citizens”. I am convinced that it is our vocation to struggle openly, publicly, against injustice, superficiality, indifference. Our professionalism allows us to be present at various levels in public life, as well as in personal life, to bear witness to the importance and meaning of being Don Bosco's children.
Dear members of the Salesian Family, we feel that you are an important part of our life as tutors, teachers, educators, mentors and spiritual guides….
We need your spirituality and support to always remain on the right path, to be able to remain always attentive to what is right and do so with humility. Together we have an incredible variety of means to reform the world around us, following in the footsteps of Don Bosco.
You have the strength and values of Don Bosco that circulate in your veins, we have his joy and enormous potential in our families, in our work, in our projects. Only if we walk together, side by side, towards the future, will we be able to support and develop the Salesian Family.
Please remember these words: we need you, your heart, your prayers, your example and your company. At the same time, we offer you our professional skills and talents to support your service together with ours. I ask you to use our offer to help us better live out our vocation and our mission as Past Pupils. I am convinced that we all have a mutual need: just like you need young people to carry out your Salesian Mission, you also need us Past Pupils as your partners and supporters to be able to fulfil it today as well, in the 21st century.
… Let us know what you want to give us so that all of us, in this open dialogue and discussion can form a real, living and meaningful family of our father, Don Bosco.
You have already been invited to give us your considerations through one of our initiatives for the year of our Jubilee, the “Questionnaire 2020”…
We have prepared numerous other initiatives to celebrate our 150th year and the 2020 Jubilee: Together with the ‘Questionnaire 2020’ and the distribution of the Rector Major's Strenna for 2020 to all the Past Pupils, as World Presidency we are working on 5 main projects:
- The statue of Carlo Gastini at Valdocco and his Biography in various languages
- The book on Blessed Alberto Marvelli, a great example for us Past Pupils on how to be good Christians and upright citizens (published in various langauges)
- A publication on 150 outstanding figures amongst the Past Pupils, who are of inspiration and model by the lives of our Alumni today (e-book with 150 profiles)
- The 150 best Projects that may inspire Past Pupils and the Salesian Family.
- A special gift for the 150th anniversary we prepared 150 special and exclusive gift boxes: a special ‘Gastini coffee blend’ as result of international cooperation among Alumni of Asia (DiBosco-Thai) and Europe, in order to fund social and education projects in America and Africa. [for interested: firstname.lastname@example.org]
… For the Past Pupils this anniversary is a blessing to be alive at this special time and to be able to see how Don Bosco’s dreams are being realized every day.”