Gastini and the coffee cups…

On the 24th of June 1870, the first group of past pupils from Valdocco, led by Carlo Gastini, visited Don Bosco to mark his feast and to thank him for his love and education. On this memorable day, Don Bosco turns to Carlo and his friends and he invites them to stay with him and the Salesians. Don Bosco showed his past boys how he needs them even more than when they were his boys at the Oratory and he proposes an revolutionary idea to them. Don Bosco invites them to become part of the Salesian Family as Past Pupils and Friends. He invites them to create a community, an organisation to help each other and the Salesians. From that very moment, we, Past Pupils started to identify as being part of the Salesian Family.. The official process of participation and creation of Past Pupils as an organisation within the Salesian Family took a longer time and happened after the death of Don Bosco.

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But on that very day of 24th of June 1870, Don Bosco told his boys that they are invited to stay with him even after they complete their time in education or at the oratory. Even if they are not called for the vocation of a consacrated member of Salesian Congregation or a Salesian Cooperator, the past pupils and friends are identified as an important group and part of Don Bosco´s heart. We don‘t know every small detail that took place in this meeting but the last 150 years embrace an enthusiastic vision into this story where it all began. What we are sure today is that we are here as Past Pupils and Friends because of Don Bosco and Carlo Gastini and his fellows. We are celebrating the 150th anniversary, and with joy and pride, we can say that we are sons and daughters of Don Bosco because we owe so much to him and Salesians. Furthermore, we are prepared to give back from what we have received today and for the next 150 years.

From our joyful hearts and gratitude, we have prepared for the celebration of this important anniversary various interesting projects and initiatives. Among many national, provincial and local activities, there are 7 main celebrative priorities prepared for the Jubilee Year 2020:

1. STRENNA 2020 for Past Pupils

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For Past Pupils and Friends of Don Bosco, it is our core mission to daily live this years‘ strenna of the Rector Major: “Good Christians and Upright Citizens.“ It is indeed part of our DNA and identity of what it means to be active and live as a Past Pupil and Friend of Don Bosco. We are actively focused on sharing this years‘ strenna, and its implications on our actions and lives among Past Pupils and Friends around the world. It is not only an impetus for us Past Pupils and Friends as a group and association but it gives us a wider identity on our relationship with the Salesian Family. For more information about the Strenna 2020, please see original Salesian websites where you can find a lot of more explanation and reflections.

2. Questionaire 2020

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We have prepared for the year of our 150th anniversary, the Questionaire 2020. It is dedicated to all Past Pupils around the world and it asks important questions about the practical view on the actual situation of Past Pupils and Friends. It brings specific challenges about what does it mean to be Past Pupil and Friends for the 21st century and what kind of Past Pupils and Friends we have been in the last 150 years. We look to the future with our traditions and experiences. We have shared a questionaire with all other Salesian Family groups and we have asked for feedback for how they see us and, at the same time, to show how we think and what is the direction of Past Pupils and Friends for the future. If you are interested in sharing your ideas and proposals with the World Confederation, feel free to fill in the Questionaire 2020 on this link

3. Gastini

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Carlo Gastini is the first known Past Pupil of Don Bosco and as the first President of Past Pupils of Valdocco, he is for us an important person for the 150th anniversary. A member of the World Presidency of Past Pupils of Don Bosco – Mr. Sergi Rodriguéz has prepared the 150th anniversary, the high quality publication about Carlo Gastini, his origins, life and charisma of a Past Pupil and Friend of Don Bosco. We would like to pay our honour to Carlo Gastini also through commissioning a new statue dedicated to him and placed at Valdocco, the place where it all started. Recently, we have also started receiving feedback from Past Pupils and Friends from all around the world that we might start to pray and think about beatification process of this interesting and important member of Salesian Family. Please pray for the success of all those Gastini related initiatives and in case you are interested in the book or support the projec to erectthe statue, please contact Mr. Sergi Rodriguéz on

4. Alberto Marvelli

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The next important part of this year‘s celebrations is another publication – about Blessed Alberto Marvelli, an Italian past pupil who is for all past pupils and friends of Don Bosco an example. He is shining role model how a past pupil can live this years‘ Strenna of the Rector Major (and motto of Past Pupils): „Good Christians and Upright Citizens.“

This initiative from the Past Pupils and Friends of Don Bosco in Malta and in collaboration of the World Confederation of Past Pupils of Don Bosco, right now the English version of the book is being printed and the book will be translated into more foreign languages. Both books – on Gastini and Marvelli are supposed to be available also online in the second phase of promotion and distribution. We would like to use this online publishing as a feedback for the actual Corona-crisis in the world to make possible for people to read good books from their homes. You can show your interest in the book or offer to co-operate with the translation of this publication to various langauges and its dissemination via email

5. 150 Past Pupils Profiles

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Next project is exclusively an online publication and it is called 150 PPP – 150 Past Pupils‘ Profiles. After Gastini and Marvelli, we have found that there are many more Past Pupils and Friends who deserve to be given acknowledgement for their worthy example to all of us and for the whole Salesian Family. We can be inspired by the richness of Past Pupils‘ lives and testimonies from all over the world today and in the last 150 years. Therefore, the World Confederation is preparing an online piblication with 150 profiles of inspirational and valuable Past Pupils and Friends. You can support this project via communication with the responsible person Mr. Rajiv Tikmani via email:

6. 150 Best Practices

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Last, but not least, a publication will be dedicated to 150 Best Practices of Past Pupils from the whole world. In order not be focused only on people and persons but also on collective successes and great example, we are working on gathering 150 exceptional and succesful projects of Past Pupils and Friends of Don Bosco from all over the world to be an online publication of 150 Best Practices. With the aim to celebrate our diversity and skills and, at the same time, with the aim to inspire and encourage each other for better and bigger dreams. As well, you can support this project via communication for responsible person Mr. Rajiv Tikmani via email:

7. Gift of „ 150 tazzine“

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The gift of the Jubilee year 2020 – „tazzine“ (coffee cups). We have already mentioned when Carlo Gastini and his fellow Past Pupils of Don Bosco from Valdocco met with Don Bosco to wish him the best because of his feast day – 24th of June 1870 and for this special occasion they brought him a very special gift. They wanted to thank him for his education and love. Among other gifts, they gave him coffee cups – tazzine. Who knows why exactly they offered him this gift. Maybe it was a particular gift of that time, maybe because don Bosco used to work as a barista in his youth or maybe Don Bosco liked coffee. We, as Past Pupils of 21st century, celebrating 150 years from this moment of Don Bosco’s gift of tazzine, we have decided to go back to our roots and re-make this gift of coffee cups. We have prepared 150 exclusive and numbered wooden boxes including coffee cups with the logo of 150th anniversary and coffee made by Past Pupils. It is a coffee blend called Gastini which comes from the international cooperation between Past Pupils who are producing and processing coffee. The coffee cups are a gift to remember the precious moment of Don Bosco telling his first past pupils to stay with him and the coffee means that from small parts/beans from different parts of the world when are correctly blended and roasted, can create something tasty, valuable and exceptional.

We, sons and daughters of Don Bosco and his Past Pupils and Friends are coming together and attracted by Don Bosco and the education received by his Salesians so we can as one world association bring energy and joy to the whole world. This project besides being a commemorative aspect, it has also a social purpose. We are offering the 150 Jubilee year gifts for the purchase of a minimum of €150 and the profit of this fundraising activity will be used for educational and social programmes for young farmers and coffee and chocolate producers from all around the world. We put this courageous and valuable project to your prayers and intentions and we believe that with this example we will be able to bring more and more good to everyday lives of those who need it the most.

More about the project and options how you can become part of it and support education of young and poor, you can find out via email