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(ANS – Rome) – “135 years old, the Salesian Bulletin has preserved an amazing vitality. This is all due to the one who invented it, someone with an astonishing, clear view of the future. ” These are the words with which Fr. Bruno Ferrero, director of the Italian Salesian Bulletin (SB), introduced his address during the meeting of the Directors of the SB across the world. It was a presentation which laid out its history, purpose and above all its identity. We publish a summary.
Don Bosco was a born communicator. Of his very nature he was irrepressible. He adjusted himself via communication, became more up to date in his ideas, invented ways to teach. He showed that he had understood industrial civilization, which he was an enemy of in principal. And like all great communicators, he experienced fear but also made others fearful. That same effect continues 125 years later.
It all begins with a broadsheet with the unlikely title Bibliofilo Cattolico (Catholic Booklover), which he changed then into Bolletino Salesiano. The word bolletino,according to the dictionary, means “an official publication saying something of a public nature”. It has noble origins. The word comes from “bolla”, the seal or stamp used for public writings and solemn kinds of documents. Papal Bulls – if that helps. It is still employed for practical purposes: medical bulletins, war bulletins. It points to something practical in style, without too many frills, managerial in nature. This is why Don Bosco liked it.
The first official number of the Salesian Bulletin opens with a letter from Don Bosco: “To the Salesian Cooperators. Our regulations, good and deserving Cooperators, prescribe a monthly Bulletin that would be published in due course to keep you informed of things that have been done or are yet to be done to obtain the aims which have agreed to achieve. We are now fulfilling a common desire, so that everyone can carry out his work in unity of spirit and unanimously direct our efforts to a single purpose: The glory of God, the good of civil society. To this end we judge that a Bulletin will help you, one that has been printed now for some years in our print shop in Turin and which will be printed in future from the St. Vincent’s Refuge in Sampierdarena. This Bulletin will tell you about:
1. Things that the members or their Directors choose to offer for the general and particular good of associates who follow the practical rules of the Cooperators.
2. Expounding facts that are fruitful for members and can serve as an example for others. So, things that have happened, or we have heard about or read: so long as they are linked to the good of humanity and religion; news and letters from Missionaries working for the faith in Asia Australia and especially those from Salesians spread throughout South America amongst wild tribes: all this is appropriate material for us.
3. Communications, notices of various kinds, works we are proposing; books and maxims which should be spread around, will make up a third of the Bulletin.
“Don Bosco never excluded anyone.”– Fr. Ferrero clarified – This is why the Bulletin is addressed to all friends of Don Bosco and those who, if they got to know him would be his friends. One might think of a series of concentric circles rippling out from the centre using the most effective method of all: a handing on of the word.”
Fr. Pietro Stella in one of his publications wrote: “One could say that the SB, the many circular letters sent out ... determined how the world discovered Don Bosco, this extraordinary man. Up until 1874 the Salesians were just a regionally based Congregation. After that date, especially after the 1880s, Don Bosco more frequently took on boys who were recommended by clergy or laity, requests multiplied to open houses in various cities and countries.” (Stella, Don Bosco, 1968).
“According to Don Bosco’s insights, the Salesian Bulletin is not a simple list of news events, but shows the spirit of the Congregation by telling about deeds and works, more than by spreading speculative ideas. It offers a reading of contemporary reality from a Salesian point of view and accepts the provocations of the world of the young and of the Church in view of a more comprehensive educational and pastoral project.”, said Fr. Ferrero.
Published il 24/05/2012