Dear Salesian Family,

We are well into our Lenten journey. No doubt we have some community practices of penance. (The SDBs in New Rochelle have only water, coffee and tea to drink at supper, fruit for dessert and no snacks between meals.) There are special moments of prayer: Stations of the Cross, additional opportunities to go to confession, vigils and parish missions. We also show particular concern for the poor, not only the materially disadvantaged, but we show concern for those in our neighborhood who live with the many faces of poverty. Some of our works make use of the CRS Rice Bowl program or creative resources from the Missionary Childhood Association available at www.missio.org. All of these Lenten practices highlight our need for on-going conversation; they also strengthen our solidary with the People of God throughout the world who are likewise making this 40 day spiritual journey.

I would like to highlight a few opportunities for us, as a province and Salesian Family, during Lent to be in solidarity with the Church and particularly with the Salesian Family.

Pray and Fast for Peace

(The following paragraph is taken from “Notes for Neighbors,” the electronic newsletter from the USCCB Department of Peace, Justice and Human Development.)

Join Pope Francis to Pray and Fast for Peace on Feb. 23, 2018. Pope Francis is inviting Catholics to participate in a Day of Prayer and Fasting for Peace on the Friday of the First Week of Lent (Feb. 23), in order to pray for “the tragic prolonging of conflicts in various parts of the world,” particularly in the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan. He urges that each person “according to his or her own conscience before God, can ask: ‘What can I do for peace?’” Here are three ways to respond:
1. Learn about the situations in the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan. Read the statement from the USCCB President, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston at www.usccb.org/news/2018/18-036.cfm.
2. Pray for peace in the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, and the whole world. Suggested prayers of the faithful and a specific prayer from the USCCB are included in this edition of Salesian News.
3. Share what you’ve learned with others. Spread the word on social media. Gather your community or friends to pray the Rosary, Chaplet of Divine Mercy, Lectio Divina or some other favorite devotion.

Province Day Solidarity: Belle Glade and Venezuela

Each year, the SDB communities make a contribution to the province to be used to further the Salesian mission of education and evangelization. This year, the contributions will be divided between our Salesian home mission in Belle Glade, FL and the Salesian mission in Venezuela. The Salesians in Belle Glade already have begun an afterschool program three days a week with one teacher. With contributions from the province, this program will be able to expand next school year to two tutors five days a week, and snacks every day. Regarding the Salesian mission in Venezuela, the provincial, Fr. Francisco “Pancho” Mendez, shared this anecdote. He met last week with some of the young priests of the province. They told him of their great desire to find some ways to help the young who come to the Salesian training centers to have something to eat each day. As brothers and sisters in the same Salesian Family, surely we can help. Contributions can be brought to the SDB province day celebration, March 17 at the Marian Shrine, or send a check written out to Salesian Society, Inc. to Fr. Dennis Donovan at the provincial center in New Rochelle. Please indicate that the contribution is for the province day gift.

Missionary Solidarity: Book Drive for the Salesian Houses of Formation in India

I am happy to invite you all to contribute in another way to a province project—our support of the formation of Salesians in the Chennai province by helping to expand the libraries in their houses of philosophy and theology. We plan to fill a container with books, especially philosophy, theology, spirituality, education and Salesian studies, and with the help of Salesian Missions, New Rochelle, ship them to Chennai. Please bring the cases of books to Salesian Missions by Easter. Here is a great opportunity to see that our personal book collections, and maybe some of the community library, can be used for the formation of another generation of Salesians. The province of Chennai has generously sent us missionaries to serve in Edmonton; I hope we can be generous in filling the container. Religious articles will also be accepted. Fr. John Louis Mariapragasam recently went back to India to visit his home province and family. While there, he st

opped at the new house of theological studies, called “Becchi Don Bosco,” and has provided us with pictures. If there is a surplus of resources for the province of Chennai, the provincial, Fr. Jose, will send them to the neighboring province of Trichy.

As we draw closer to Christ during Lent, we will naturally be drawn closer to each other. Our love for Jesus is expressed in our solidarity with those living in poverty. Our Lenten practices can be a practical means to communicate God’s mercy.

God bless you during this holy season.

Fr. Tim Zak

February 22, 2018 - 4:39pm

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