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Don Bosco’s invitation to the wisdom generation

“It is in giving that we receive”

“My friends, I lived in the 19th century, a period of great change. You too, live at a time of extraordinary change. New technologies enable you to communicate in previously unimaginable ways. Developments in health science make your lives more comfortable. New insights in psychology and the social sciences give a better understanding of the human person. You have wonderful travel opportunities. I could go on and on…”

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Don Bosco’s invitation to the wisdom generation

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Don Bosco’s invitation to those who engage with young people

“I invite you to seek and earn the trust of young people!”

“Hello, I am Don Bosco. I am really delighted to greet all of you who work with young people. That was my work too. So I can associate with you in the joys and difficulties of this most important task. Like you, in today’s Ireland, I worked with young people when times were difficult. But like you I experienced the idealism, exuberance and resilience of the youngsters…”

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Don Bosco’s invitation to those who engage with young people

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Don Bosco’s invitation to parents

“Be God’s gift to your children!”

”I lost my father Francis when I was two and a half years old. He was only 34. I missed having him around as I grew up, but God provided me with good father figures in a few good priests. I dedicated my own life as a priest to filling that gap in the lives of the poor teenagers I found abandoned and left to their own devices in the city.

My mother Margaret was strong and a great worker. She had endless faith in God’s goodness and passed that on to us her children. She knew how to deal with our different characters and temperaments. And she was always ready for whatever sacrifice circumstances threw up. I will never forget how she accepted to join me in Valdocco, a suburb of Turin where I was working as a priest, and become mother to my youngsters for over ten years, at a time when most people would be thinking of retiring…”

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Don Bosco’s invitation to parents

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Don Bosco’s invitation to young adults

“Live your life to the full!”

“Hello friends! I was born in 1815, two months after the emperor Napoleon had been defeated at Waterloo, Belgium. This emperor, with his wars and armies brought great suffering, hardship, exploitation and fear to my country. Over 60,000 people lost their lives—mostly young men.

Young people, many in their teens, were migrating from neighbouring provinces and countries to the north of Italy. Cities were growing rapidly. The movement to unify Italy had begun. The values of the French Revolution—freedom, equality and fraternity—were taking root. The Industrial Revolution was changing the nature of work. Many young people, often as young as ten worked long hours in factories. Like your era, those times were difficult for young people due to lack of trust in adults, anxiety about the future, and for the poor there was little hope of getting an education…”

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Don Bosco’s invitation to young adults

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Don Bosco’s invitation to teenagers

“Believe in yourself and always follow your dream!”

“Hi there! My birthday was nearly 200 years ago. I was born into a farming family in the north of Italy. I understood the value of time and the challenges of the changing seasons, the need for careful planting and reaping and the need to have a good environment. I took this lesson throughout my life and lived it in the way that I cared for my teenagers.

Today, you, my teenagers, live in a global village—I invite you to notice the beauty that surrounds you in your world. The seasons still change as they did for me. Believe in yourself and be grateful for your environment. You or your family may have to deal with unemployment or disappointment. Like the seasons, change always will come in your life…”

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Don Bosco’s invitation to teenagers

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Don Bosco’s invitation to children

“Be Happy!”

“I am going to read you a story about Don Bosco.

Don Bosco, whose first name was John, loved an audience. Even as a little boy he entertained others. He attracted groups around him. They listened eagerly to his stories.

When he was young, he knew nothing about your favourite DVDs. They did not exist then. John and his friends created their own heroes. They made up their own adventure stories. Sitting in the sunshine in the fields, John told his friends stories from the Bible. He told them about Joseph and his brothers, about Moses in the bulrushes and the other stories that you know from the Bible. He told the stories with great excitement and his friends wanted more. John Bosco loved Bible stories and he could remember every word of them. When he came from Mass, he could remember all the story and the message the priest gave.

When you hear the message of Jesus, it can help you to be a better, more loving person. It can help you to be truthful and happy…”

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Don Bosco’s invitation to children

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 Lesson Plan – Don Bosco the Dreamer

Materials for the Lesson – Don Bosco the Dreamer

Word Document: Lesson Plan – Don Bosco the Dreamer

Word Document: Dream Tickets

Word Document: Task sheet – Dreamer Catcher

Word Document: Additional notes on the criteria for a good dream

Power Point Presentation: Don Bosco Quiz

A Powerpoint presentation on Don Bosco’s Home

“I’ve decided to tell you a bit about myself and invite you to have a look at my home. Some places are especially important for me.”

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 A short drama from the life of Don Bosco


based on an incident from the life of Don Bosco

Abridged and adapted by Fr. Kenneth Pereira SDB

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Articles about Don Bosco and Salesian Spirituality

  1. Cardinal Angelo Amato SDB: Four pillars of Salesian Spirituality

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  2. Fr W.G. Austen SDB: Don Bosco

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  3. Henri Gheon: The Secret of Saint John Bosco

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  4. Saint John Bosco, Founder of the Salesian Society, taken from “Lives of Saints”, Published by John J. Crawley & Co., Inc.

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  5. Don Bosco’s Story

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Don Bosco Study Guides

Study Guide 1: Getting to Know Don Bosco: His Place in History, Part 1

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Study Guide 2: Getting to Know Don Bosco: His Place in History, Part 2

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Study Guide 3: Don Bosco: Educator

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Don Bosco’s Dream – Video


John’s dream at the age of nine – Video


Download ‘John’s dream at the age of nine’ video


‘Here is a Man’ by Fr Hugh O’Donnell © 2012


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