Place of realisation
The Salesians in Malta opened a secondary school and an oratory in Dingli in 1968. Next year, the Salesians will be celebrating their 50th anniversary since the opening of the school. Although there is no formal committee for the past pupils, there are various groups in which past pupils and friends of Don Bosco are actively involved in youth pastoral ministry as leaders of projects and events organised for young people. There is also the Savio Athletic Club which is organised by the past pupils of the College.
Description of process/realiazation
The involvement of the past pupils is very strong both in the school and in the Oratory. They play an integral part of the various youth ministries particularly as Salesian Animators and the Savio Athletic Club. There is also a group of past parents and friends who organise formative activities during the year and maintain a link with the Salesian community. These meetings are a healthy spaces for spiritual growth and formative experiences.
The Salesian Animators group is a project which started in 2005 and consists in the animation of various youth activities which enable processes of prayer and spiritual growth in our young people. This spiritual growth is an accompanied growth, first on a group level and later on an individual level. Monthly reflections on the word of God through the means of Lectio Divina, Spiritual
This whole programme started to develop during the summer of 2005. Since then, the programme has gradually evolved into a formation process which goes on all year round (winter and summer).
(1) The Salesian Animators Group. The formation programme for our young Salesian animators (over 16s) consists of monthly Lectio Divina’s, monthly eucharist, praying with Psalms, retreats, formation weekends on Leadership, Creativity and Salesianity and exchanges in other countries. Through these various formative moments and through a stable experience of voluntary work with children, these young men and women mature in their Christian commitment. A vast majority of them embark on a spiritual companionship experience which helps them to understand God’s presence and will in their lives.
The Boscofest Experience During the years, between 2005-2011, one of the major activities held every summer was Boscofest. Boscofest was a Christian educational experience for young people from all over Malta through the mediums of art, music, animation and drama. Organised by Fr. Louis Grech sdb and his team of Salesian Animators, Boscofest is an experience where education takes place with the heart of Don Bosco. More than 200 young people unite together for the summer months and work together in a Salesian environment. During the summer months these young people meet for rehearsals and also spend some days at Savio College, living together, praying, playing and preparing for the production. Boscofest started in 2005 with the musical “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”. Since then, there have been four other editions. In 2011, Boscofest returned with Boscofest 2011 – Reaching Out! It was an incredible experience where for the first time, apart from having rehearsals, live-ins, and two great shows in Savio College, the Boscofest team went to visit other people to brighten their day in id-Dar tal-Providenza, St Vincent de Paul Residence and Dar Sagra Familja. The concept of reaching out and exposing youth to the most vulnerable in society and doing voluntary work seems to be the way forward in our ministry with young people. In April 2011, Boscofest was also given recognition by the President of Malta and made it to the final for the Presidents Prize for voluntary work. Since 2012 the Boscofest experience has been transformed into a six week experience, with various summer camps which encourage moments of prayer, formation, recreation and creative activity. In 2016 the summer activities reached out to 400 children who participated in the summer camp experiences and the Funday which unites all summer participants. During the year of mercy, particular focus was given to the sacrament of confession. Over these past twelve years 5000 young people have benefitted from the Boscofest summer experience.
(2) Hbieb Duminku Savio (Amici Domenico Savio) and Gospa (Girls of Salesian Prayer and Animation). Apart from Boscofest regular summer camps, live-ins, one day seminars, formation meetings are held for young people. The “Friends of Domenic Savio for boys” and “Gospa for girls” are a strong movement here in Malta. These experiences have been great opportunities for our young people to live together with the Salesian Community. They are prooving to be deep spiritual experiences for our youth.
(3) The Come and See Group. (For those in vocation discernment over 18s). All this is helping to create a “vocation culture” in which a number of youth are in a process of discernment and have embarked on a journey towards Salesian consecrated life. Don Bosco believed that it is not “doing something” for youth that counts but “being someone” to them. It is “not what we do” for them but “what we are” to them. Don Bosco enabled processes of spiritual growth and managed to be that “someone” who could offer direction to each and every boy. Here in Malta, we are striving to maintain that vital balance between being organisers and being there for each and every young person.
Receiver of project
Young past pupils and children
Budget of project
Duration of realization
Conclusions / strong parts of project
The Salesian Animators group is a project which involves a strong group of young past pupils and friends of Don Bosco. It guides young people after they leave their school to engage in prayer and spiritual growth. This spiritual growth is an accompanied growth in a group and then the possibility of individual accompaniment is also offered.
The young people are involved in organising youth ministry activities and they also meet for monthly reflections on the Word of God through the means of Lectio Divina, Spiritual Companionship and Counselling are given great importance in the formation of our young. Such a ministry is being offered to the young people by the Salesian community.
Name of resonsabile/contact person
Fr. Louis Grech SDB and Mr. Andrew Fiorini Lowell
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