Hungary – In conversation with Michal Hort, President of World Confederation of Past Pupils of Don Bosco

24 June 2021

(ANS - Budapest) - The Past Pupils of Don Bosco of Hungary, about to found their national association, conducted an interview with the President of the World Confederation of Past Pupils, Michal Hort. Today, 24 June, Don Bosco's name feast day and 151th anniversary of the symbolic birth of the Past Pupils - which can be traced back to the famous gift of coffee cups to Don Bosco by Carlo Gastini and the other ancient pupils of the Valdocco Oratory - we publish some excerpts.

Can you tell us about yourself? When and where did you meet the Salesians? What do you do for a living? And, as we know, you also have a family ...

My name is Michal Hort. I'm 43 years old. I'm married. I have my wife Martina and my 3 kids, Tereza, Filip and Matus. They are 10, 8, and 4 years old. I'm an entrepreneur. I have a consultancy company in the sector of EU funds. My company currently has 10 employees and we help our clients get grants for their development and investment projects.

I grew up in a family of five children, of which I am the eldest, where both my parents were, and still are, Past Pupils of Don Bosco. My father always taught me to help the Salesians. I studied at the Salesian high school in Sastin, Slovakia, and then at the University of Bologna, in Italy. So, I've been raised and educated by both my parents and the Salesians from an early age. And for that I am very grateful.

In 2015 I got elected President of the World Confederation of Don Bosco Past Pupils.

In your current life situation, what does it mean for you to be a Salesian Ex Pupil? What effect did Don Bosco's pedagogy have on you?

For me, being a Past Pupil of Don Bosco means everything. The education I received is for me my way of life, my life plan. Now when growing older, the words "Good Christian and Honest Citizen" for me are the sum of what I want to be. I want to point out that helping others, thanks to the education received from the Salesians and the talents and skills given by God, is what defines my everyday actions. Or at least, I try my best. And this is for me the definition of a Past Pupil of Don Bosco.

As Coordinator of the World Confederation, you have a general view on lots of local Associations. Can you share with us some good practices of them around the world?

Before answering this question, I would like to underline one important fact: Past Pupils are the movement all around the world (we estimate more than 100 countries, more than 30 million people). There are approximately 14,000 Salesians in the world. There are more than 3,500 schools and almost 4,000 Salesian works all over the world.

Past Pupils of Don Bosco are all those lay people who passed through the hands of the Salesians, not only in schools, but also in the oratories, churches, social houses, etc.

It's a "sleeping giant" that has a potential to do a lot of good. We just need a lot of prayers and good tools and plans to help him awaken.

There are good examples of best practices on our 2015/2021 Strategic Plan and on our web page. There are many. Please consult the documents and the web page: www.exallievi.org 

I would like to point out, for example, educational courses for high school children about their future employment; or the Business Club of Past Pupils Entrepreneurs; or Family Weekends for the families of Past Pupils of Don Bosco, and so on.

How would you summarize the identity of Don Bosco's Past Pupils in one sentence?

"Be a Good Christian and an Honest Citizen". Short, but complete. Think about it.

The full text of the interview is available in the official magazine of the World Confederation of Past Pupils, Past Pupils NewsFlash.

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