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Salesians of Don Bosco Unite In Prayer

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Mar. 20, 2012

Dear Young People,

I hope that this note finds you in good spirits with the loving and gracious God.  My name is Fr. Chinh Nguyen,  Salesian Vocation Director.  Please unite with me and the Salesian Family, Eastern and Western parts of the United States, to thank Newman Connection for allowing us to share something on “prayer” for living the journey of life and faith; at the same time, I will take the opportunity to share with all of you something regarding the Salesians of Don Bosco and our charism in the Church and in the world.  Here they are:

What is prayer (especially in this Season of Lent)?  Prayer, according to the Dictionary of the Bible by John L. McKenzie, SJ: “to intercede”, “to praise” especially in thanksgiving.  Also, a lot of time, we tend to pull God down to us and begin to present our intentions…However, prayer, in sincerity, is also to allow God to pull us up to God’s place.  If the allowance is granted,  we begin to walk in the way of God and be comforted!  Faith is a journey and we will need to learn and be ready to wrestle with God (Jacob and prophet Jonah are two clear examples from the Old Testament).  Here are some more insights and reflected meditations on prayer by some of our Novices (these are young men preparing to make their vows to be a Professed Salesian) @ St. Joseph’s Novitiate /  Retreat Center in Rosemead, California:

Novice John:

Prayer is a conversation with God.  It is a time to step back from the world and sit with God to tell him my needs and to listen for his guidance.

Novice Steve:

Prayer is my way of placing me with God into the world. I can only be in one place at one time. I can’t do all I want to do because I am only one person.  Prayer allows me to enter into these lives and these situations throughout the world.  I don’t always see the results of prayer and I would be lying if I said that I always got exactly that for which I asked. Prayers have been answered, some in a very mystical and amazing way, but that is not the only reason I pray. I pray to give thanks and also to search…I find the heart of my faith in prayer and this provides me with the joyful hope of what is to come. Without prayer I am lost,  confused, and unable to become the person who I have been called to be.

Novice Travis:

Prayer is one of the largest keys to our relationship with God. Prayer does not depend on the right words being said rather it depends on honesty.  Honesty not just in saying this is what I did wrong Lord, but in our emotions, relationship, confusion, and expectations. For example, “God I am mad at you because I need you right now and you seem to be so far away.” That would be a beautiful prayer if that was where I was at right now.

Novice Duoc:

Prayer for me is a way of life towards God.  When one’s life is directed towards God, everything in one’s life becomes a prayerful offering.  The difficulty for me is that my life is not always directed towards God.   In many instances, my thoughts, feelings, decisions, and actions are directed more towards me, myself, and I.  I know that this will be a life-long process to work towards, nevertheless, the intentions are towards God, but I occasionally need some reminding.  However, I am grateful for the experience of living and working in a Salesian religious community.  I have matured greatly as a human being, but more so as a man of prayer.  Prayer as a way of life takes a lot of self-discipline and self-giving.  Living in community has enabled me to put both into practice, so that prayer becomes who I am and not what I do.

Something about the Salesians of Don Bosco:

Salesians educate for life in the cultural and social environment of the young person. We evangelize by educating and educate by evangelizing. We focus on the Body of Christ and bring young people into that living community of faith where their gifts and their journey are given direction and support. It is within the context of community that the young discover their place in God’s plan; their gifts, their communities are called to transform the world into the image and likeness of Christ.  St. John Bosco (or known as Don Bosco) used to say: “It is enough that you are young for me to love you very much…” 

What is our charism?   We are a gift to the Church especially to young people who are poor.   As noted by Don Bosco, “It is not enough that you love the young; they must know that they are loved.”  We are signs and bearers of God’s love for the young under the spirit of St. John Bosco in the Church (in a nutshell). 

What does the daily prayer life of the Community consist of?   Normally, we come together for prayer, at least twice a day (morning and evening) and daily Eucharist is celebrated usually in the morning.  I am saying normally and usually because we have various ministries throughout the province.  Many times, the ministry / apostolic endeavors will influence and dictate community’s schedule.

What are your ministries? We have 5 high schools (2 in the Bay Area, northern part of California and 3 in Los Angeles County, California), 3 Salesian Boys and Girls Centers and numerous youth centers throughout the State of California, 2 retreat centers, 1 Perpetually Professed Brother who is working in the jail with the juveniles and 1 formation house for Salesian family members who come throughout the world.  Moreover, we located, mainly, in California.  However, we do have San Luis Rey Church and a Youth Center in Laredo, Texas. 

Further information, check out:!

Be assured of my prayer for your well being and happiness: good Christians and honest citizens.  Blessings upon your endeavors with God in view,

Fr. Chinh Nguyen, SDB


St. Joseph’s Salesian Novitiate / Retreat Center
8301 E. Arroyo Drive
Rosemead, CA 91770

Salesians of Don Bosco, S.D.B.
Western Province
1100 Franklin Street
San Francisco, CA 94109