Vatican City, Vatican - August 2022 – Yesterday, Aug. 3, at the end of the General Audience, Pope Francis addressed a special greeting to the children who participated in the Youth Summer Camp at the Vatican: " I greet the children of the Summer Youth Camp in the Vatican. They have been quiet until now but you can hear them now. They are accompanied by their parents and the camp animators, whom I thank for their precious work. I wish to thank Fr. Franco, the 'spiritual soul' of the Vatican, who as a good Salesian was able to plant this seed in setting up this summer camp now in its third year." Fr. Franco Fontana, chaplain and coordinator of the initiative told Vatican News that the Pontiff's words meant a great deal to him and of a beautiful moment that took place before the audience, when the Pope received the animators in a small room, thanking them and “above all encouraging them on how this passion for education must animate them throughout their lives.” Fr. Fontana went on to emphasize that the Pope recalled his commitment, the Salesian commitment, to the preparation and organization of the summer center, which this year grew with the participation of 230 children for five weeks.
Source: Vatican News
Edmonton, Canada - July 2022 - As part of the "Penitential Pilgrimage" Pope Francis is making in Canada, on July 25 he went to the Sacred Heart of the First Peoples Church in Edmonton, one of the city’s oldest, for the second meeting with indigenous peoples. The Pontiff was welcomed by Fr. Susai Jesu, OMI, who thanked him on behalf of the indigenous people and the parish community. The Pontiff was pleased with the work carried out by the parish, a meeting place for indigenous people and descendants of the former colonizers where the Catholic faith is expressed in the context of indigenous culture. During his remarks, Pope Francis admitted that shame "must never be erased," for the pain caused even by so many Christians to the detriment of the cultural distinctiveness of indigenous communities, and dwelt on the authentically Gospel meaning of reconciliation. Pope Francis stressed, " Here is a home for all, open and inclusive of all, just as the Church should be, a family of the children of God where hospitality and welcome are paramount, the distinctive values of indigenous culture: and where everyone should feel welcome, regardless of past events and individual circumstances of life."
(ANS - Edmonton) - An apostolic journey that is first and foremost "a penitential pilgrimage, which I hope, with God's grace, may contribute to the journey of healing and reconciliation already undertaken," as Pope Francis himself defined it in the Angelus of July 17. This is what the pontiff is doing in Canada - July 24-30, with stops in Edmonton, Maskwacis, Quebec, and Iqaluit - to ask for forgiveness and bring consolation to indigenous peoples who are victims of colonization.
Vatican City - June 2022 - On June 25 in St. Peter's Square Pope Francis celebrated Mass on the occasion of the 10th World Meeting of Families, held in Rome on June 22-26, on the theme "Family Love: a vocation and a path to holiness." In the final part of his homily, the Holy Father said, "Dear families, you too are invited not to have other priorities, 'not to turn back,' that is, not to regret the life of before, the freedom of before, with its deceptive illusions: life becomes fossilized when it does not welcome the newness of God's call, regretting the past. When Jesus calls, even to marriage and family, he asks us to look ahead and always goes before us on the journey, always goes before us in love and service. Those who follow Him are not disappointed!" "May the love you live among yourselves always be open, directed outwards, capable of ‘touching’ the weak and wounded, the frail in body and the frail in spirit, and all whom you meet along the way. Love, in fact, even family love," Francis concluded, "is purified and strengthened when it is gifted. The Church is with you, indeed, the Church is with you and in you!... For the Church was born of a family, the Holy Family of Nazareth, and is made up mostly of families.”
Dear brothers and sisters,
Last year we reflected on the need to “Come and See” in order to discover reality and be able to recount it beginning with experiencing events and meeting people. Continuing in this vein, I would now like to draw attention to another word , “listen”, which is decisive in the grammar of communication and a condition for genuine dialogue.
In fact, we are losing the ability to listen to those in front of us, both in the normal course of everyday relationships and when debating the most important issues of civil life. At the same time, listening is undergoing an important new development in the field of communication and information through the various podcasts and audio messages available that serve to confirm that listening is still essential in human communication.
A respected doctor, accustomed to treating the wounds of the soul, was once asked what the greatest need of human beings is. He replied: “The boundless desire to be heard”. A desire that often remains hidden, but that challenges anyone who is called upon to be an educator or formator, or who otherwise performs a communicative role: parents and teachers, pastors and pastoral workers, communication professionals and others who carry out social or political service.
RMG – General Council and Don Bosco: firsthand voices, testimonies. A word with Fr. Pérez Godoy
(ANS - Rome) - With the celebration of the 207th birthday of the Father and Teacher of Youth just four days away, we talk to the Councilor for the Mediterranean Region about his personal relationship with Don Bosco.
Listening With Our Heart
Little John was watching the television and the sight of the African children being shown in utter poverty made him cry, and after sobbing in desperation he got up and pulled out a few slices of bread and went near the television and started pushing those slices in every small little hole on the back of the television. In his simplicity, he thought he was offering a little bread to those hungry children. The little boy expresses best what it means to listen with the heart.
The attentive gaze of a mother by the side of her child, and the slightest cry or movement of the child makes her respond immediately with a gentle touch or a caress, and this too is perhaps another example of what it means to listen with the heart. The mother feels what the child needs.
Listening with the heart is the experience of a noble, loving, compassionate person. Looking around, we see millions of people who suffer in silence every day. Everyone longs to be heard and listened to. But the raging fire and chaos, noise and humdrums have caused so much of deafness within, and we only listen to some sounds. We have lost the quality to empathize, to listen and to feel.
The call to listen with the ear of one’s heart, is the invitation of Pope Francis in light of the 56th World Communications Day, that is popularly celebrated on the Ascension Sunday every year. Are we really truly listening? Why do we struggle to listen? How can we listen with our heart? These can be some areas of introspection as we ponder on this theme of the World Communications Day – “Listening with the ear of the heart”.
Spain – Campobosco 2022, "Dare, trust, live!"
(ANS - Barcelona) - Under the motto "Dare, trust, live!", a new edition of "Campobosco," a Salesian youth spirituality meeting that this year brings together 774 participants, aged 19 and older, belonging to the Salesian Youth Movement (SYM) of the Salesians and the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians of Spain and Portugal, began last Saturday, July 30.
United States – International Youth Day: the Salesian programs that support and educate youth
(ANS – New Rochelle) – Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco, joins humanitarian organizations and countries around the globe in recognizing International Youth Day. Celebrated each year on Aug. 12, International Youth Day was established by the United Nations to raise awareness of issues affecting young people around the world.