Salesian Report 2009
Rome, September 24, 2009 - The report of the Salesians of Don Bosco International, Rome, by Julian Fox, for the SIGNIS Board Meeting, October 2009.
a. What are your three main achievements over the past year? 1. The Congregation has realised a General Chapter and identified a range of communications challenges and approaches, saying that ‘communications is one of the priorities of the new frontiers’. The Congregation is working at ‘a more incisive presence’ in the media generally, through a variety of strategies, which include partnerships (e.g. a partnership with ESNE in Mexico/USA, a Spanish-language evangelisation enterprise.A rather different aspect of this was the formal admission, earlier in 2009 of Canção Nova (New Song) into the Salesian Family. This group, founded by a Salesian in Brazil, has a specific mission of evangelisation through media. 2. One of the key factors of renewal in approach to communications within the Congregation has been to see this department in close collaboration with Youth Ministry and Missions, the three making up a ‘department of the mission’. This is to strengthen the possibilities for evangelisation. 3. The Congregation is focusing on a ‘Project Europe’ to help revitalise faith and the Salesian presence in Europe. It has identified communications as a key factor in that effort. European delegates in aspects of communication (e.g. at province level, editors of the traditional ‘Salesian Bulletin’ publishing) have met as European groups to help strengthen their impact, be it in print or through new media.
b. What are your main priorities for the next year in the run up to the World Congress 2009? 1. The Congregation is working to establish more unified policies for its production/enterprise efforts worldwide. This means rationalising in some places (activities of publishing houses in particular) and expanding in others - e.g. new TV venture in Slovakia in association with the Church auhtorities. 2. The Congregation has nominated Free, Open Source Software as a major area of effort, backed by research and motivation which is not simply based on the economics of the approach but its ethics and its contribution to evangelisation and education. 3. Formation: the General Councillor for Communications has identified the area of formation of Salesians, and of young people in social communications as top priority.
c. In what specific way has your organisation contributed to the following themes: + building a Culture of Peace: The Salesians, through an annual campaign which in general terms is called ‘Salesian Mission Day’ have identified the Gypsies, especially in Europe, as a major campaign of activity called ‘I am with you’. Though the campaign is aimed at 2010, it has, for the first time for these annual days, fully involved the communications department in developing communications strategies. The campaign focuses strongly on peace. + Media and Children: There are a variety of activities around the world involving Salesians, Media and children, so it is a case of selecting amongst these - Europe has several: France has already held a ‘Festiclip’ in 2009, a festival of video clips produced by and for young people. Slovakia has launched a 2 year program of educommunication - education in the management of communication which is a combined project with Salesians of Don Bosco and Salesian Sisters. It aims at educating youth to critical use of new media especially and to see these as a means of transmitting life values.In Southern Africa, (meaning not only South Africa but also Swaziland, Lesotho) the Salesians partnered with Metanoia Media Ministries (Cape Town-based) to help Pam Stenzel present her ‘Sex has a Price Tag’ message as part of the ongoing ‘Love Matters’ proactive approach to AIDS....