Don Bosco and His Vision of Communication: a Great Network at the Service of Youth

By Fr. Gildasio Mendes – SDB

Don Bosco was a writer, Don Bosco was a journalist, Don Bosco was a great Church communicator.

He wrote a variety of texts such as hagiographies, historical texts on the Church, but also writings on education, religion and formation in general. There are 1,174 of his documents in all. Not only that. Our founder was also a journalist. In 1877 he founded the Salesian Bulletin and collaborated with it until his death.

The list of his publications developed continuously over the following years, practically until his death. In the 37 volumes of the Opere Edite, published by LAS between 1977 and 1987, there are 219 titles, including biographies, history texts, prayer manuals, legal texts and regulations, hagiographies, catechisms, and edifying stories. Most of these writings are still unknown to the spiritual family that originated from him.

He was a generous writer and editor, with a 360-degree vision of communication, already in his time. He had set up a network that was a movement – Salesians, lay people, friends – with only one goal: to do good and give visibility to good.

His creative process was noteworthy. From an idea came a letter; from a letter a book; from a book an editorial series, until the establishment of a publishing house and the publication of the Salesian Bulletin. In a virtuous circle, the Salesian Bulletin gave rise to a network of relationships between people.

His brilliant mind had the superpower of aggregation!

He wrote, thinking of creating a network of readers. He educated, involving friends, confreres and educators; the Salesian Congregation came into being from a small group of people. He was the communicator who passionately followed the gospel dynamic of the seed falling into good soil.

He thought big!

Don Bosco wrote a song and wanted a choir to perform it. Then he wanted an orchestra. The oratory was enriched by a theater and enlivened with music, liturgy and games in a continuous network of action and involvement.

Every communication network started from an inner drive: a dream, a passion, a purpose. His communication system was a real kaleidoscope. A mosaic with colors and drawings. His every gesture was aimed at involving his young people, promoting their active prominence and growth for the glory of God, and thanks to the impulse of Mary Help of Christians.

Today’s Salesian Bulletin must be the expression of a magazine that activates a network. It must be a worldwide information channel, a magazine to create bonds, to show the good that Salesians do for poor young people in the world, to express the strength and beauty of love.

We are Don Bosco who communicate!

It is up to each of us, in every Province, to be creative, courageous, determined to make the Salesian Bulletin a web magazine which expresses the vitality and timeliness of the Salesian charism.

Today’s society is experiencing great social and cultural change and is formed by people who have a heart that desires to love, who seek the meaning of their life and believe in the greatness of charity at the service of the poorest.

How can we continue to publish a relevant and significant Salesian Bulletin today? How do we write the Salesian Bulletin with an attractive, new language that touches the imagination and the heart of people? How can we promote the charismatic value of the Salesian Bulletin in our provinces? How do we increase the quality and number of Salesian Bulletin publications? How do we make the Salesian Bulletin self-sustaining? What should become of our magazine in an age of digital and artificial intelligence? How do we make the Salesian Bulletin a magazine in line with the path taken by the Salesian Congregation and the Church?

Starting from the cultural circumstances of each Province, we must continue to maintain a channel that disseminates the positive works carried out by the Salesian Family in the world. Hence it is very important to renew the educational, pastoral and economic guidelines for the Bulletin in each Province and to work hand in hand with the Provincial, his Council, Youth Ministry, the Missions, Formation and the vocation of the Salesian Family

It is essential to continue management by a team that plans, implements and delivers the Bulletin to every Salesian work, involving the laity in all these processes.

We must pursue the quality of articles, creativity in the way of writing texts with a simple and attractive language, the presentation of interesting stories starting from concrete experiences, the use of images that have evocative power.

Networking means creating partnerships with our Publishers, Radio, Institutional Sites, and social networks, so that the logo of the Salesian Bulletin is recognisable and carries a specific value.

The active role of young people is an expression of our way of educating and evangelizing. Young people know digital language and how to communicate in it. The Bulletin must be a space to express their dreams, their faith and their commitment in the world today.

The management of the Bulletin, from creation to distribution, is a critical factor! We must have the courage and initiative to involve community leaders, schools, and parishes to participate in its outreach.

Finally, we need to create a bridge between the paper and digital versions and get its content onto Social Networks in an updated, dynamic, constant and creative way.

Don Bosco is each one of us today!

We have a father, a founder, a saint, and a communicator.

In a changing world, it is up to each of us to continue this important mission of giving identity, professionalism, quality and relevance to our Bulletin. At the same time, it is very important for all of us to maintain its charismatic dimension and to collaborate with the Rector Major, Successor of Don Bosco, so that the Bulletin continues to be an important and significant channel at the service of the Salesian mission.