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Dynamic growth of the Salesian Family in Chieri

By Our Own Correspondent

Chieri, Italy, 8 December 2018 -- As happens on every 8 December, the worldwide Salesian Family celebrates its birthday in many different ways (8 December 1841) remembering the 'Hail Mary' said by Don Bosco in the St Francis of Assisi Church with the first boy to whom he offered the catechism lesson that started it all. Celebrating this day in the holy places of Don Bosco gives a special flavour to this event. We remember that young John spent no fewer than ten years growing up, being educated and formed in Chieri (1831-1841) and this town treasures many vivid places like the 'Cafe Pianta' and the Major Seminary.

In 2018 too, the Salesian Family and Educative Pastoral Community of Chieri (Rector Fr Eligio Caprioglio with six Salesian priests and one Salesian Brother) celebrated the Feast of the Immaculate Conception at noon with a Hail Mary on the brand new artificial football field when the numerous youth, their leaders and parents, Salesian Cooperators, Past Pupils, FMA sisters and SDB community joined hands to create a large human chain around the field. It was a most impressive experience, when the core group of the Oratory remembers that only 5 years ago there were not even 30 people who came!

Youth Serving Youth!! The yellow 'uniform' of all the volunteers in the 'San Luigi Chieri' compound helps to distinguish the youth leaders (both from junior and senior high school), the various volunteers at any level (High school, Oratory, Liturgy, Cooking, Youth group leaders, Catechists, Altar boys, Choirs or many youth group leaders). At the heart of the Marian Feast was the 'Promise' of the 30+ leaders in the morning and the renewal of the Promise by Salesian Cooperators after the evening Eucharist:

'Thank you, Lord, for seeking me out and bringing me closer to the Salesian Family. Now I can be called a 'junior leader'. Today I choose to offer you my promise, and with the help of God, of Mary Help of Christians and of Don Bosco I commit myself to growth in friendship with You, Lord, to be humble and sincere with everyone, and to become, day by day, a Christian example among my companions, and to nourish my trust in my parents and other educators. Please, help me to be faithful day by day to this promise, in humility and the simplicity of your word. Amen.

From the early morning (a special cooking team, preparing the lunch for all 300+ youth and adults), through the Oratory activities, Advent recollection for the parents and members of the Salesian Family (Salesian Cooperators, Past Pupils and VDB), a festive Eucharist and until the last item, the play in Piedmontese dialect, there was a large number of volunteers of all ages - from teenagers to grandmothers and grandfathers.

Our wish is that the model of the Chieri Oratory, based on volunteer service, frequent formation, backed up by families and open to the local society, may also flourish in many of our EAO provinces!

Happy Birthday to the Salesian Family!

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