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SALESIAN
ENCYCLOPAEDIC
DICTIONARY
With Extended List
of ‘False Friends’
2nd edition 2021
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This dictionary was first published by DB Medial, Seoul, in 2019,
under the auspices of the East Asia-Oceania Region.
The dictionary was compiled over a long period of time cover-
ing two Workshops held by translators from the East Asia-Oceania
Salesian region, one in 2014 the other in 2019.
This second, updated edition by a member of the Australia-Pacific
Province, adds new information (e.g. the decision by Pope Francis
to admit women formally to the ministries of reader and acolyte...
), new terms in recent use in Salesian discourse (e.g. docibilitas
[la], synodality... ), terms of historical interest (e.g. bogianen [pms],
trattatello... ), plus any number of minor corrections. Also added
are many new ‘false friends’. On the other hand, the appendix
focusing on translation issues has been moved to a separate col-
lection.
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Introduction (2nd edition)
The Salesian Encyclopaedic Dictionary, with an appendix of the very
many ‘false friends’ that exist between Italian and English, is a
comprehensive effort to compile a list of terms in current (and
sometimes historical) use in Salesian discourse in English. This sec-
ond 2021 edition updates some information, includes new entries
and an expanded list of ‘false friends’.
Many (perhaps 99%) of these terms have originated in Italian,
some in the Piedmontese dialect, the vernacular of the founding
Father and most of his first followers. But as Don Bosco’s charism
became established outside of Italy, it was inevitable that new
terms would arise with their origins in other languages.
This dictionary, which has developed over many years of careful
lexical observation and annotation, is chiefly interested in meanings
and usage relating to Salesian discourse in English, and includes
terms that have entered that discourse from English and, indeed,
other languages.
The dictionary (it is far more than a glossary, hence the descrip-
tion ‘encyclopaedic’) contains a great deal of information. Not only
are some terms complicated, containing several meanings, but due
to their consistent use in Salesian discourse they may have devel-
oped an etymology of their own and require some explanation.
The compilation of terms has borne in mind both the translator
and the seeker of knowledge regarding the Salesian charism of St
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Salesian Encyclopaedic Dictionary
John Bosco. Its use, then, is intended both as a formation tool and
an aid for translators. The extensive list of ‘false friends’ will be of
particular help to translators, even the best of whom can easily
fall into any number of traps of this kind.
One Salesian region in particular, the East Asia-Oceania region,
has brought translators from the Salesian Family together on two
occasions so far (2014 in K’Long, Vietnam, and 2019 in Anisakan,
Myanmar). These workshops, as they have been called, have insisted
on the value of producing glossaries in the various word pairs that
translators in the region are working with. And since English is
the ‘lingua franca’ of the region, it was seen to be an essential
first step to produce what would effectively be at least a bilingual
glossary in the Italian-English language pair, but one not ultimately
restricted to that pair should some terms originating from other
languages in the region also need to be included.
While this dictionary has resulted mainly from the needs of
one Salesian region, it would clearly be at least a part response to
the needs of other regions where English is the ‘lingua franca’, and
it may well be that a future edition expands to include terms from
other languages that have become part of Salesian discourse in
those regions: this current dictionary includes several examples of
the kind: ‘gaku-’ (Japanese), ‘harambee’ (kiSwahili), ‘silsilha’ (Ara-
bic), ‘wontok’ (Tok Pisin). There will be many other such examples,
though not included here.
All entries contain a headword in bold type, followed by one
or more glosses (meanings) in brackets. If the term is neither
Italian nor English in origin, a brief language reference is offered in
square brackets, using the ISO two-letter or three-letter language
codes, e.g. [ar] (Arabic), [de] German, [es] Spanish, [fr] (French), [ja]
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(Japanese), [la] (Latin), [pms] (Piedmontese), [pt] Portuguese, [sw]
kiSwahili, [tpi] (Tok Pisin). Where there is more than one word or
phrase given as meanings, the first of them is the primary sense of
the term in normal Salesian discourse, followed by synonyms that
may be appropriate in context. A simple indication of part of speech
then follows in italics. If the headword consists of more than one
word, the part of speech may be either a ‘phrase’ (Noun, Verb, etc.)
or an ‘idiom’ or set phrase. All information regarding the term,
including usage, follows the ‘round bullet’. In some instances the
entry concludes with a ‘right arrow’ indicating a cross-reference.
See following example:
abbandonato 1. abandoned. 2.
neglected. 3. in a state of dire
poverty with nobody to look
after them. adjective. Note
the term ‘poor and abandoned’
which Don Bosco used but
which was also frequently in
use to describe the situation
of young people who might
also be socially and religiously
deprived. This group was Don
Bosco’s definitive vocational op-
tion. povero e abbandonato.
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Abbreviations
ar
abbrev.
C.
de
es
fr
ja
la
np.
pms
pl.
pt
Arabic
abbreviation
Constitution
German
Spanish
French
Japanese
Latin
noun phrase
Piedmontese
plural
Portuguese
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Abbreviations
R.
Regulation
sw
kiSwahili
tpi
Tok Pisin
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1a età
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1a età
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1a età 1. youth. 2. first age. noun
phrase. The age between ado-
lescence and maturity and by
extension all of the human be-
ing’s first age (as opposed to old
age).
Different cultures distinguish age
groupings in different ways.
One would be unlikely to find,
in English, terms like first age,
second age etc. as recorded
here. In fact there are proba-
bly only three general group-
ings in English: young, middle-
aged, elderly, and the bound-
aries are rather flexible for
these. Among the young cate-
gory, English might distinguish
infants, children, adolescents
young adults.
Having said that, there is, in
the UK, the University of the
Third Age, so at least that term
is recognised as ‘older people no
longer in full time work’.
Usage: Expect to find 2a età (the
30-59 age group) and 3a età
(see earlier in this comment. It
would be capitalised in English
as Third Age), and perhaps even
4a età (75 and over).
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abbandonato
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accolitato
A
abbandonato 1. abandoned. 2.
neglected. 3. in a state of dire
poverty with nobody to look
after them. adjective. Note
the term ‘poor and abandoned’
which Don Bosco used but
which was also frequently in
use to describe the situation
of young people who might
also be socially and religiously
deprived. This group was Don
Bosco’s definitive vocational op-
tion. povero e abbandonato.
abito talare 1. cassock. 2. cler-
ical dress. 3. habit. noun. [ta-
lare, adj. from tallone=heel] as a
symbol of the priestly state.
abside 1. sanctuary. 2. apse.
noun. Typical element in Ro-
man architecture in the cella
(where the divinity was located)
of a temple or basilica... to draw
attention to what it contains,
hence the liturgical value of
the apse in a Christian church.
Architecture: a vaulted semi-
circular or polygonal recess in
a building, especially at the end
of the choir of a church.
accademia 1. academy. 2. reli-
gious entertainment program.
noun. A semi-religious or cul-
tural program often performed
on the vigil of a major feast day.
accolitato Ministry of acolyte.
noun. In the ecclesiastical hi-
erarchy, the fourth and highest
of the minor orders; after the
1972 reform, it is one of the min-
istries common to the whole
Church (along with Reader or
Lector), and can be conferred
in a special ceremony, includ-
ing on lay people. On 10 Jan-
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accompagnamento
acquisti
uary 2021 Pope Francis issued
an Apostolic Letter titled Spir-
itus Domini, which modified the
Code of Canon Law to allow
women, as well as men, to be in-
stalled in the ministry of acolyte
and lector, or reader, at Mass.
Note that the term nearly al-
ways appears in close associa-
tion with lettorato, ‘ministry of
Reader’ or Lector. The one who
takes on this ministry is called
an accolito or ‘Acolyte’.
The sense in which the term
is used in Salesian discourse is
almost always that of the in-
stituted acolyte normally, but
not essentially, in preparation
for priesthood. lettorato
accompagnamento 1. accomp-
animent. 2. to move with. 3. to
be with. 4. to be on first name
terms with. 5. to be trusted by.
6. companionship. 7. guidance
noun. An act of support by a
person for another individual or
for a group; to follow up some-
one, go with someone as a com-
panion. Note also that accom-
pagnamento vocazionale in Ital-
ian (see below) might be ren-
dered as ‘vocational guidance’
in English. The extended list of
synonyms already suggests that
it might be better to avoid the
term ‘accompaniment’ where it
could cause confusion.
accompagnamento vocazionale
Vocational guidance. noun phrase.
In 2009, an adjustment was
made to the existing Salesian Ra-
tio (for the prenovitiate section in
particular) in the light of new
attention being given to ‘voca-
tional accompaniment and the
aspirantate’, and ‘spiritual ac-
companiment’.
ACG Atti del Consiglio Generale
AGC Acts of the General Coun-
cil. abbreviation, initialism. The
official organ for the promulga-
tion of directives of the Rec-
tor Major and his Council. Their
publication is the responsibility
of the Secretary General.
acquisti 1. purchases. noun.
Accounting terminology.
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ACS
ADMA
ACS1 Atti del Capitolo Superiore
ASC Acts of the Superior Chap-
ter. abbreviation, acronym. The
term is out of use, as they are
now known as the Acts of the
General Council AGC (or Atti del
Consiglio Generale ACG).
ACS2 Archivio Centrale Sale-
siano Salesian Central Archives.
abbreviation, initialism. A cen-
tral depository which has the
function of preserving the docu-
mentary heritage of the Congre-
gation. Distinguish from ACS1
Atti... above.
ACSSA Associazione Cultori della
Storia Salesiana 1. Salesian His-
tory Association. 2. Association
for those who Cultivate Salesian
History. abbreviation, acronym.
Set up by decree of the Rector
Major on 9 October 1996.
5, it was promulgated by Pope
Paul VI on November 18, 1965.
The title means ‘to the nations’
in Latin, and is from the first
line of the decree, as is custom-
ary with Roman Catholic docu-
ments.
One difficulty with taking ‘ad
gentes’ out of its original linguis-
tic context, to develop it into
an over-arching missionary ap-
proach, is that it can be in-
terpreted ethnocentrically. It is
‘missionary activity proper’, in
the view of Redemptoris Missio,
and is directed to peoples among
whom the Church has not been
firmly established and whose
cultures have not yet been in-
fluenced by the Gospel, people
who are found in certain ge-
ographical areas, for the most
part. Missio inter gentes
ad gentes [la] adjectival phrase.
‘Ad Gentes’ is the Second
Vatican Council’s Decree on
the Missionary Activity of the
Church. Passed by the bishops
assembled by a vote of 2,394 to
ADMA Associazione di Maria
Ausiliatrice 1. Mary Help of
Christians Association. 2. Clients
of Mary Help of Christians (out
of use), 3. Devotees of Mary
Help of Christians (out of use).
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ad multos annos
ad multos annos
abbreviation, acronym. A Pub-
lic Association of the Faithful.
Don Bosco founded the group
‘to foster veneration of the
Blessed Sacrament and devo-
tion to Mary Help of Christ-
ians’. Association of the Devotees
of Mary Help of Christians (hence
the ’D’ in ADMA), is now out of
use in favour of the simple As-
sociation of Mary Help of Christ-
ians, or Mary Help of Christians
Association.
The Rector Major, Fr Ángel
Fernández Artime, wrote ‘Let-
ter on the occasion of the 150th
anniversary of the foundation
of the Association of Mary Help
of Christians (ADMA) – 18 April
1869’, and in it he traced the his-
tory of the term (as well as the
reality) of this association. With
regard to ‘devotee’, he points
out that ‘This little word, an-
tiquated and somewhat out of
fashion nowadays, is the key
to entering into the burning
heart of the relationship that
links Don Bosco with the Help
of Christians.’
Don Bosco himself traced out
the origins of the group in a
leaflet entitled ‘Association of
the Devotees of Mary Help of
Christians canonically erected
in the Church dedicated to Her
in Turin with historical infor-
mation about this title by the
priest John Bosco.’ He attrib-
uted the origin of the Associa-
tion to ‘repeated requests’ com-
ing ‘from all parts and from
people of all ages and every con-
dition’ during and after the con-
struction and the consecration
of the church. He referred to
the associates as ‘those united
in the same spirit of prayer
and piety paying homage to the
great Mother of the Saviour in-
voked with the beautiful title of
the Help of Christians.’
ad multos annos [la] remains
untranslated though its mean-
ing is ‘may you have many more
years’. adverbial phrase, idiom.
A refrain with a semi-liturgical
significance. The more com-
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ad nutum
ADS
plete phrase is ad multos annos
vivat and it is usually sung as a
n even more complete verse: ad
multos annos vivat, plurimosque
annos vivat, vivat, vivat, vivat. In
fact, its origin is Christian and
goes back to a time when the
newly consecrated bishop sang
this three times to his consecra-
tor; or in the case of an abbot at
his investiture, once only. Com-
mon enough in Salesian usage
at some convivial celebration of
confreres.
ad nutum [la] remains untrans-
lated. adverbial phrase, idiom.
Used of an ecclesiastical office
whose bearer may be removed
from by his or her appointer at
will, without need for further
explanation. Literally meaning
‘at the will of’ for the time that
the Superior remains in office,
or until he changes his mind.
adorazione 1. adoration. 2. wor-
ship. noun. Act expressing
homage paid to a divinity or
person thought to be divine.
In the Catholic religion, an
act expressing homage to God.
Desramaut includes the term
amongst his 100 key words of
Salesian spirituality. Salesians
begin their understanding of
the term from Francis de Sales
who sees adoration as a daily
thing, in any circumstance.
Adoration before the Blessed
Sacrament is very much part of
Salesian tradition.
ADS [es] Asociación Damas Sales-
ianas 1. [Association of] Salesian
Women. 2. DAMAS. 3. ADS ab-
breviation, initialism. An asso-
ciation of Catholic lay women
founded in 1948 in Caracas,
Venezuela. A Private Associa-
tion of the Faithful in ecclesi-
astical terms. Often referred to
by the shorter title (capitalised)
DAMAS, not an acronym but
a shortened version. Has offi-
cial membership of the Salesian
Family. The Salesian assistant to
the DAMAS is called the ‘Spiri-
tual Director’.
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affidamento
afflictis lentae
AEO Asia Est-Oceania, EAO East
Asia-Oceania. abbreviation, initial-
ism. A current Salesian Re-
gion. Essentially, the region is
the old Australia-Asia region mi-
nus South Asia, but in 2008
at GC26, Myanmar (MYM) was
added in from the South Asia
Region. Current member cir-
cumscriptions of the region
are: AUL (Australia Province,
includes the Pacific Delega-
tion), CIN (Province, includ-
ing Taiwan), FIN (Province), FIS
(Province, includes the Pakistan
Delegation), GIA (Province), KOR
(Province), MYM (Vice-Province),
INA (Vice-Province), PGS (Vice-
Province), THA (Province, in-
cludes the Cambodia Delega-
tion), TLS (Vice-Province), VIE
(Province, includes the Mongo-
lia and North Vietnam Delega-
tions).
It is important to note that
while this region frequently
makes use of an initialism
(EAO), this is not an official ab-
breviation, for in fact none of
the Salesian regions have an
official abbreviation, and per-
haps only the East Asia-Oceania
makes frequent reference to it-
self this way. Provinces, on the
other hand, do have official ab-
breviations (either acronym or
initialism, as seen above).
sigla
affidamento Entrustment noun.
Distinguish from ‘consecration’,
especially, for example, when
speaking of the prayer of entrust-
ment to Mary Help of Chris-
tians. consacrazione.
afflictis lentae [la] The com-
plete phrase is afflictis lentae
celeres gaudentibus horae Time
passes slowly for those who
are sad and fast for those who
are cheerful. verb phrase. John
Bosco saw this inscription on
the sundial at the seminary in
Chieri when he first entered
there, and determined to make
his time pass quickly! (The sun-
dial in question is no longer
on the wall of the courtyard,
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agiatezza
allegria
though a second one is still vis-
ible on the adjacent wall).
agiatezza 1. comfort. 2. ease.
3. life of ease. 4. well-being
noun. Social and financial cir-
cumstances corresponding to
well-being. Can have a pejora-
tive sense in a religious context.
imborghesimento.
Albera Paolo Albera Paul proper
name. Paul Albera was the
second successor of Don Bosco,
a fact predicted by the Saint of
Valdocco himself. Elected Rec-
tor Major at the death of Fr
Michael Rua (1910), he dedicated
himself particularly to the spiri-
tual formation of the members
of the Salesian Society, spelling
out directives for interior life.
This care was also mirrored in
the social field in his wish that
educational work be pursued
beyond the schools and col-
leges by more stringent and con-
sequent bonds. He brought to-
gether Congresses of Past Pupils
and Cooperators with precise
aims: to forge fraternal bonds
which would add to the fruits
of the education received and
would facilitate mutual assis-
tance; to diffuse the Christian
spirit throughout family, soci-
ety and especially among young
people; to promote and put in
place, eventually, private and
public initiatives aimed at sup-
porting the many works of as-
sistance, religious and social
outlook that have come into
existence in the name of Don
Bosco. He carried this through
most effectively amidst the dif-
ficulties of the first World War
when it was necessary to organ-
ise huge works of charity and
assistance in different nations
at war.
allegria 1. cheerfulness. 2. happi-
ness. noun. A lively, happy
state of mind understood as
a Christian virtue. Part of the
trio allegria, studio-lavoro, pietà
(cheerfulness, work-study, piety)
frequently employed by Don
Bosco with the sense of being a
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ambiente
ambiente
virtue, hence his including it in
recommendations to Dominic
Savio who asked what he had
to do to become a saint. Don
Bosco would also often remind
a youngster to sta allegro, be
happy.
ambiente 1. setting. 2. neigh-
bourhood. 3. environment. 4.
circle. 5. climate. 6. atmosphere
noun. We are likely to find the
Italian term ambiente, which we
can often though not always
translate with ‘setting’, a term
in frequent use in Salesian dis-
course today. It will often be
in combination with an adjec-
tive such as popolare, in which
case the phrase might be ren-
dered as ‘ordinary folk’, or ‘or-
dinary poor people’’, or ‘work-
ing class’ according to circum-
stance, another way of saying
ceti popolari, which we find in
the Italian version of the Con-
stitutions. But it is worth not-
ing the huge change that took
place in the SDB renewed Con-
stitutions (1984).
While previously the term am-
biente (setting or environment,
but this time the English text
translates it as ‘neighbourhood’)
wasn’t found anywhere, the
new text repeats it often, with
a variety of glosses in English:
C. 41: We give practical ex-
pression to the redeeming love
of Christ by organising activ-
ities and works of an edu-
cational and pastoral nature de-
signed to meet the needs of
the neighbourhood and of the
Church.
C. 57: The Salesian community is...
open to the cultural milieu in
which it carries out its apostolic
work.
C. 77: every community is sen-
sitive to the conditions of its
neighbourhood.
R. 11: The Oratory... should be
organised as a service to the
neighbourhood.
R. 14: A Salesian school... services
to meet local needs.
R. 17: The aspirantate... keeps it-
self open to the neighbourhood.
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ambiente pastorale
amici di don Bosco
R. 60: Our works should be open
and available for the needs of
the neighbourhood...
R. 89: The house of the novi-
tiate should be in contact with
social and apostolic realities of
the neighbourhood.
ambiente pastorale pastoral
animation setting. noun phrase.
Refers to the multiple activities
or educative pastoral arrange-
ments to be found across all our
works and the more traditional
sectors indicated above.
In summary we can indicate:
animating vocation ministry, es-
pecially for apostolic vocations;
animating missionary and various
kinds of voluntary work; youth
ministry recommendations with
regard to Social Communication.
The Salesian mission is also car-
ried out through certain other
significant settings like the Sale-
sian Youth Movement and vari-
ous fields of specialised activity
at local or provincial level: ser-
vices of Christian formation and
spiritual animation, or groups
and leadership services in the
leisure time area.
ambito 1. sector. 2. area. 3. di-
mension. noun. This term is
used by the Salesian Sisters in a
particular way, to indicate what
the SDBs call a settore or sec-
tor. The Sisters refer to these
areas of the Salesian mission as
an ambito, e.g. Youth Ministry,
Social Communication, etc.
settore.
amici di don Bosco 1. Friends
of Don Bosco literally, or more
broadly, 2. Salesian sympathis-
ers. noun phrase. An unoffi-
cial group to cover people who
sympathise with and act closely
according to Salesian princi-
ples and usually in collabora-
tion with Salesians, but who
are not members of an official
Salesian Family group. The term
is quite useful in non-Christian
contexts, though not only in
these.
It is arguable, at least in Eng-
lish, if the term is to be capi-
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amicizia
amministrazione... beni temporali
talised or not as ‘Friends of Don
Bosco’. Doing so implies a de-
gree of membership that does
not, in fact, exist (at least not
yet).
amicizia Friendship. noun.
Keen, mutual affection between
two or more people. The term is
one of the 100 words of Salesian
spirituality selected by Desra-
maut. Salesian understanding
of friendship is normally quite
positive, drawing from Fran-
cis de Sales but also Don
Bosco’s friendship experiences
(e.g. Jonah, his Jewish friend, Co-
mollo, in Memoirs of the Ora-
tory). Don Bosco was not afraid
to speak of friendship between
Salesians and their pupils. It is
also true to say that there was
a long period of negative associ-
ations of friendship in Salesian
tradition from Fr Rua until Fr Vi-
ganò, when once again the term
receives a positive approach.
Amicizie (Le) 1. Friendly Soci-
eties. noun. Secret societies
generally dedicated to the de-
fence of the Catholic faith and
the institutional Church, at first
chiefly through the spreading of
good books. Founded by Jesuits,
at least two groups, the Ami-
cizia cattolica and the Amicizia
sacerdotale, were less secret in
Don Bosco’s time. The pastoral
and doctrinal concerns of the
latter group were to be found
expressed through the activi-
ties of the Congregation of the
Oblates of the Virgin Mary in
their work of renewal of moral
theology in Piedmont and the
founding of the Pastoral Insti-
tute in Turin, hence Don Bosco’s
good understanding of their in-
terests.
amministrazione dei
beni temporali Administration
of temporal goods noun phrase.
A term which deals with the
structural aspect within Sale-
sian communities, cf. C. 108 and
the corresponding Regulations.
The Salesian Society has the
ability to acquire, possess, ad-
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amorevolezza
anagrafe
minister and alienate temporal
goods (Congregation, province,
house level). Temporal goods
are regarded as means through
which to achieve the apostolic
aims of the Congregation.
amorevolezza 1. loving-kindness.
2. loving concern. 3. affection.
4. kindness. 5. patience. com-
pound noun. Being loving:
love of parents for children;
affectionately benevolent, an af-
fectionate act, demonstration
of affection, benevolence. In the
Italian lexicon familiar to Don
Bosco, the term amorevolezza
was not identified so much
with ‘love’ or the theological
virtue of charity, but rather
with a range of little relational
virtues, attitudes or behaviours
shown by gestures, help, gifts,
availability. It is the kind of af-
fection shown by a parent or
by husband and wife. It is this
common-garden sense of the
term that Don Bosco employed,
but then added an understand-
ing that moved towards a more
deeply Christian understanding
of the term.
Usage: In English it could be
written as loving kindness, loving-
kindness, or even as a sin-
gle word: lovingkindness. There
tends to be a progression over
time for two words used as a
kind of compound. They start
off as two words, then a hy-
phen is introduced, and finally
they become a single word.
In a strictly Salesian context
we might write ‘lovingkindess’,
but in a more general context,
probably ‘loving-kindness’.
ragione, religione.
anagrafe Register (perhaps a
database today). noun. Regis-
tration of population in a muni-
cipality. More specifically in the
Salesian case, a Census Register
from 1847–69 which recorded
the names of boarders accepted
at Valdocco each year.
Note that there was an older
list called the repertorio do-
mestico or house list, a rough
handwritten list of names from
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21
angeli custodi
annali
1847–53.
repertorio domestico.
angeli custodi Guardian an-
gels. noun phrase. Why in-
clude angels here? Desramaut
asks this in selecting the term
for his 100 words of Salesian
spirituality. He finds that Don
Bosco from early days of his
ministry invoked and used the
Church’s understanding of the
Guardian Angels. Devotion to
the Guardian Angels was the ti-
tle of one of his very first writ-
ten works. Rua and Albera con-
tinued mention of the devotion.
Then silence, for the most part.
Desramaut hopes for a ‘return
of the angels’ in Catholic spiri-
tuality.
animatore 1. Someone who
gives life, impetus, movement
to something. 2. animator. noun.
In Salesian usage, ‘anima-
tion’ is a characteristic style
of leadership. Codified in Sale-
sian texts since Vatican II, an-
imation is a quality, a service,
a style, something which is
a capacity of individual Sale-
sians (capacità dell’animazione),
of leadership, something to be
exercised in the community,
e.g. the animazione della comu-
nità (animation of the com-
munity), or the animazione del
CEP (animation of the Educative
and Pastoral Community). We
speak of something also more
structured as in the servizio di
animazione (service of anima-
tion) or even organismi di ani-
mazione (animation structures,
animation bodies such as com-
missions).
animatore spirituale Spiritual
animator. noun phrase. The
term is used of the priest who is
responsible for an ADMA group
(MHC Association).
Usage: It would normally be
capitalised in English. ADMA.
annali Annals. noun. His-
torical narration of political
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22
annuario
apostolato
or otherwise important events,
arranged by years. Salesians im-
mediately think of the full title
Gli Annali della Società Salesiana.
These ‘Annals of the Salesian So-
ciety’ are a set of 4 hefty vol-
umes with a total of 2887 pages.
annuario 1. yearbook. 2. direc-
tory. 3. annual. noun. A regular
publication usually yearly but
not always, with news, statis-
tics. The yearly general listing
of Salesians and Houses in the
Congregation.
In fact, annuari existed in the
Salesian Society from 1870, and
contained an elenco generale. At
some stage this became simply
the Elenco. It was known as this
until 2002, then subsequently as
Annuario.
Usage: Despite the official change
to Annuario, many Salesians
still commonly refer to the
Elenco. telenco.
ANS Agenzia iNfo Salesiana 1.
Salesian News Agency. 2. Sale-
sian Information Agency. ab-
breviation, acronym. ANS pro-
duces Salesian information to
feed Salesian media and dissem-
inates its products among me-
dia, in the service of the Salesian
mission. The acronym ANS now
stands for Agenzia iNfo Salesiana
(Salesian Information Agency) –
it comes from the earlier Agen-
zia Notizie Salesiane but was re-
tained for sake of continuity
with a slightly altered refer-
ence.
In English, however, we still
tend to speak of the Salesian
News Agency, since ‘Informa-
tion Agency’ is not common
parlance in English. It is an
unusual phenomenon that an
acronym retains its initials but
the meaning changes, yet, as
noted above, this is precisely
what has happened with ANS.
apostolato Apostolate. noun.
The work of someone who dedi-
cates themselves to spreading re-
ligious truths, moral, social, po-
litical teachings. According to
Catholic Church teaching, every
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23
arancel
arancel
baptised member has aposto-
late as a duty.
At one point the term appeared
to be a likely gloss for pastorale
as in pastorale giovanile glossed
as ‘Youth Apostolate’, but they
are not the same. Hence ‘Youth
Pastoral Ministry’ came into be-
ing at one stage (now the pre-
ferred term is simply Youth
Ministry) as a gloss for the spe-
cific nature of Salesian ministry
for the young. ‘Apostolate’ has
a wider meaning, since ‘apos-
tolic’ means to work for the
growth of the Church. We also
speak of our impegno apostolico
(apostolic commitment), some-
thing which arises from and is
inspired by pastoral charity.
Desramaut includes ‘apostolate’
among his 100 key words of
Salesian spirituality, but devotes
most of his discussion to its
newer significance in terms
of new evangelisation. pas-
torale giovanile.
arancel 1. arancel system. 2.
stole fees. noun. ‘Arancel’ is
a Spanish word for the rate of
taxes, fees, or tariffs to be paid,
like a system or court costs or
customs fees. The term does not
appear in Canon Law or the Cat-
echism, or in any major mag-
isterial document of the Holy
See. In some Spanish-speaking
countries, then, the ‘arancel sys-
tem’ in the Church refers to
an outdated practice of paying
priests or other ministers for
specific sacraments or services, in
place of the minister receiving
a stipend or salary from the dio-
cese. Sometimes this is known
as the practice of ‘stole fees’ –
and is dangerously close to si-
mony, and often is, in fact, ex-
actly that. It is also prejudicial
against the poor, who might
not be able to afford something
which is supposed to be free.
For this reason, the practice is
non-existent in many parts of
the Church and being phased
out where it still can be found,
like parts of the Philippines.
This term is found only in the
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24
artigiani
AA.SS.CC.
Philippines when it is in refer-
ence to tithing or donations for
ecclesiastical services.
artigiani 1. working boys. 2. ar-
tisans. 3. apprentices. noun (pl.).
An artigiano is someone who
carries out an activity (includ-
ing of an artistic nature) for
production (or restoration) of
goods through manual work, or
in a workshop.
Now fallen out of general use to
indicate either a young worker
or lowly craftsman or, in the
plural, young people in welfare
institutions who were set on
the road to craft-type activities.
It is in this latter sense that
the artigiani of Don Bosco are
to be understood. He was also
closely associated with the Col-
legio degli Artigianelli (Home for
Young Apprentices), a work pro-
moted by Fr Cocchi who formed
a society of priests and ‘young
laymen’ to work for the edu-
cation of ‘so many youngsters,
mostly orphaned and aban-
doned, that roam the city... and
to start them on a profession or
trade.’ This was the Charitable
Society [to care] for Orphaned
and Abandoned Young People.
It was established on 11 March
1850.
AS Asia Sud SA South Asia.
abbreviation, initialism. Cur-
rent Salesian Region consist-
ing of the Indian Subconti-
nent (not including Pakistan)
with Sri Lanka, also with some
presences in Gulf countries
(Kuwait).
It is important to note that
while this region sometimes
makes use of an initialism (AS
or SA), this is not an official
abbreviation, for in fact none
of the Salesian regions have an
official abbreviation, and per-
haps only the East Asia-Oceania
makes frequent reference to it-
self this way.
AA.SS.CC. Associazione Salesiani
Cooperatori. 1. Salesian Cooperat-
ors Association. 2. Association
of Salesian Cooperators. ab-
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25
ascesi
ascesi
brev., initialism. Association
founded directly by Don Bosco
to help him in ‘the work of the
oratories’, whose members may
be lay or clerical, but who do
not take any vow by virtue of
their membership. The current
official term for the Salesian Co-
operators Association in Italian
is Associazione Salesiani Coopera-
tori, though it bore the title As-
sociazione Cooperatori Salesiani
for most of its existence.
At one time the word pia (pious)
was prepended, believing this
was Don Bosco’s term – it was,
but only to distinguish it from
certain Masonic sects and usu-
ally only viva voce. In fact, Don
Bosco initially adopted the term
Associazione salesiana, hoping to
include its members as external
members of his fledgling Soci-
ety.
Linguistic note: When an abbrev-
iation is of a plural entity, Ital-
ian doubles the letters to in-
dicate its plural nature, hence
AA.SS.CC. Pia (Società).
ascesi 1. asceticism. 2. self-
discipline. noun. Interior ac-
tion aimed at acquiring per-
fection and ascending to God
through self-denial, constant
practice of virtue, prayer (espe-
cially as mental prayer or med-
itation).
The English gloss has an unfamil-
iar ring about it – part of the
problem of contemporary spiri-
tuality, undoubtedly! One prob-
lem of the English words ‘as-
cetic’, ‘asceticism’, is that they
conjure up images of Mahatma
Gandhi or the like (or certain
holy pictures of Don Rua?).
It would be worth reading what
Desramaut has to say about
this term in Salesian and Chris-
tian spirituality – it is among
his 100 important terms. Asceti-
cism implies a degree of spiri-
tual combat. In Salesian terms,
we find it expressed through
the reverse side of the picture
in Don Bosco’s Dream of the Ten
Diamonds, as explained later
particularly by Fr Rinaldi (ASC
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26
ascritto
ASMOAF
55 1930) and Fr Viganò (ASC 300
1981).
Usage: A frequent problem in
linguistic terms is the occa-
sional habit of translating the
Italian to produce ‘ascesis’, the
Greek term. This is quite unfa-
miliar in English! Therefore, ‘as-
ceticism’ is the preferred gloss.
ascritto 1. enrolled member. 2.
novice. noun. Part of a group;
accepted as a member of an as-
sociation. Don Bosco’s first de-
scriptions of the Salesian So-
ciety did not envisage a tradi-
tional novitiate, so he did not
speak of novizi but rather of as-
critti.
ASF Apostole della Sacra Famiglia
Apostles of the Holy Family.
abbreviation, initialism. From
their website: ‘We, the Apostles
of the Holy Family, therefore de-
scribe ourselves as people called
by God to practise the evangeli-
cal counsels and to work within
his Church, with the total con-
secration of our being, to foster
the integrity and holiness of the
family through family ministry
and the education of the young.’
Member group of the Salesian
Family.
Founded in 1889 in Messina
by Cardinal Guarino (1827–1897),
Archbishop of Messina and sub-
sequently Cardinal. He wanted
the group to support his partic-
ular pastoral commitment to
protecting the sacred nature of
the family. He called the group
after the family of Nazareth,
the model image of perfec-
tion for every Christian family,
and placed families under the
protection of the Holy Family.
ASMOAF Australian Salesian
Missions Overseas Aid Fund. ab-
breviation, acronym. ASMOAF
has as its mission support
for the vocational teaching
of underprivileged young peo-
ple in developing countries,
in order that they find em-
ployment and become self-
sufficient, contributing mem-
bers of their nation. The Aus-
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27
aspirantato
assistente
tralian Salesian Missions Office
has been part of the Provin-
cial Economer’s domain since
the 1960s. It was granted tax
deductible status for donations
for the relief of poverty in
developing countries in 1986.
The Australian Salesian Mission
Overseas Aid Fund (ASMOAF)
was set up as a Trust in 2000.
Salesian Missions Australia.
aspirantato 1. aspirantate. 2.
juniorate. noun. In a joint
document released in 2011 by
the Councillor for Formation
and the Councillor for Youth
Ministry (on the experience of
the aspirantate), the term ‘aspi-
rant’ has now a preferred tar-
get group, viz. young men inter-
ested in Salesian consecrated life
who have already completed
some post-secondary studies.
This does not rule out other
candidates but is rather a state-
ment of preference.
The term does not appear in the
Constitutions (but in the Reg-
ulations instead). Don Bosco in
his own time made reference to
‘Apostolic Schools’ (Meeting of
Superior Chapter, 5 June 1884), a
model which he had heard of in
France and which was a kind of
junior seminary to prepare very
young candidates for novitiate
or seminary entrance.
Usage: The term should not be
confused with ‘seminarian’. A
seminarian could be an aspi-
rant, but not all aspirants are
seminarians. The term aspiran-
tate will normally be under-
stood in religious circles (mean-
ing Religious Congregations)
but is rare outside that. It is ob-
viously a derivation from ‘aspi-
rant’.
assistente Assistant. noun.
This term has a very specific
meaning in Salesian usage. For
example, a confrere may be as-
signed to a house as ‘teacher
and assistant’, though it is un-
derstood that every Salesian
is an ‘assistant’, i.e. actively
present among the young.
assistenza.
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28
assistenza
associati
assistente ecclesiastico Eccle-
siastical assistant. noun phrase.
A canonical term for the Sale-
sian priest who is officially re-
sponsible for the VDB or the
CDB.
Usage: The term is more likely
to be capitalised in English.
assistenza 1. assistance. noun.
A style of presence to young
people which meets all their
real needs; a form of total hu-
man development. Total chari-
table activity on behalf of young
people. Codified in Salesian ter-
minology since Don Bosco. Key
element of presence as part
of Preventive System of Don
Bosco. The term is really the
forerunner of ‘preventive sys-
tem’, a term Don Bosco did not
use as such before 1877, when
he needed to give a theoretical
basis to his activity. So its true
content is extensive in the light
of that.
‘Assistance’, from the Latin ad-
sistere, implies ‘being there for’
physically, therefore a presence,
but not any kind of presence.
It is an active presence, part of
the Salesian style also known as
‘animation’. The classic expres-
sion of Don Bosco ‘Here in your
midst I feel completely at home’
expresses well the concept of
Salesian presence-assistance.
Usage: It might also be known
as a combined word: presence-
assistance. From the concept
of assistance we have the Ital-
ian assistente and English ‘as-
sistant’ (see above). ‘Assistance’
and therefore ‘assistant’ have
very specific Salesian mean-
ing as described above, so are
not to be confused with the
more common meaning of ‘as-
sistance‘ or ‘assistant‘. sis-
tema preventivo.
associati Associates. noun (pl.).
A term used by Don Bosco
as a first reference to what fi-
nally became cooperatori, Coop-
erators. Associati is to be seen
in conjunction with congregati
(SDBs). congregati.
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29
ASTRA
AustraLasia
associazionismo Group-minded-
ness. noun. The phenomenon
whereby individuals gather in
groups or associations and, by
extension, the set of active as-
sociations in a particular field.
A difficult and abstract idea for
translation into English! Meet-
ing in groups is the basic idea.
In Salesian usage, it refers to
a typical aspect of Don Bosco’s
Preventive system, encouraging
young people to join groups
which promote their own ac-
tivity and leadership protago-
nismo), as represented histori-
cally by the sodalities, bands,
sports etc.
ASTRA abbreviation, acronym.
An acronym for Assemblea Stra-
ordinaria, or extraordinary as-
sembly, e.g., of the Sacred Heart
community in Rome (Sacro
Cuore).
attuario 1. notary. 2. actuary. 3.
registrar. 4. clerk noun. The
Italian term attuario was orig-
inally in reference to an of-
ficer in the Roman Imperial
army who looked after provi-
sions etc. In English, an ‘actuary’
is a statistician who computes
risks, rates, etc. especially for in-
surance purposes, according to
probabilities derived from pop-
ulation statistics, etc.). But nei-
ther of these are what an actu-
ary does in a Salesian context.
He is closer to the now obsolete
meaning of a registrar or clerk.
It is probably better to use the
gloss ‘notary ’ in English, which
is more easily understood and
is also a role of the Provincial
Secretary. notaio.
AUL AUL The Australia-Pacific
Province. abbreviation, initial-
ism. A Salesian Province in the
EAO Region. While the official
initialism used is AUL, it des-
ignates the Australian Province
and the Pacific Delegation (Sale-
sian Delegations do not have a
separate set of initials).
AustraLasia AustraLasia. noun,
portmanteau term. E-newsletter
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30
Auxilium Christianorum
Auxilium Christianorum
founded in response to the need
to link Salesian provinces in the
then Asia-Australia (now the
East Asia-Oceania) region in No-
vember 1997. austraLasia has de-
veloped into a substantial digi-
tal/online service under the um-
brella of a website known as
BoscoLink.
Usage: The term requires a cap-
ital ‘L’ in the middle: it could
be understood as austra (Link)
asia. Hence it is a portmanteau
term, a single morpheme result-
ing from the combination of
two or more morphemes.
Auxilium Christianorum [la] 1.
Help of Christians (literally). 2.
Our Lady Help of Christians. 3.
Mary Help of Christians. noun
phrase. The Latin is often
glossed as Ausiliatrice or Maria
SS. Ausiliatrice in Don Bosco’s
Italian.
Don Bosco’s personal devotion
to Mary transcended all ti-
tles, both the traditional his-
torical titles and titles tied to
local popular shrines. It was
solidly founded on the Church’s
traditional Mariology (Mother
of God, of Christ, Theotokos)
and on traditional popular de-
votion as simply ‘Our Lady’
(the Madonna). His devotion
to Mary under particular titles,
including Immaculate Concep-
tion and Help of Christians, ap-
pears as an aspect of his percep-
tion of Mary’s basic presence in
the Church.
However, his devotion to and
use of the term ‘Help of Chris-
tians‘ came later – after 1860.
Neither in his History of the
Church (1st ed. 1845) nor in his
History of Italy (1st ed. 1866) is
there any mention of the Help
of Christians. The inscription
on the frieze inside the great
church he saw in his dream in
1844 read “Hic domus mea, inde
gloria me”, not “Auxilium Chris-
tianorum”.
Nor is the title in the early edi-
tions of The Companion of Youth
(1st ed. 1847). It would seem that
it was the apparition and mirac-
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31
Azione Cattolica
Azione Cattolica
ulous events of Spoleto 1862
that precipitated his interest
and use of the term. Archbishop
Arnaldi of Spoleto officially be-
stowed the title Auxilium Chris-
tianorum on the apparition. Don
Bosco’s narration of his dream
of the Two Columns (May 30
1862) seems clearly connected
with the event, since one of the
columns bears the insciption
“Help of Christians”. This, along
with Spoleto, was tied to politi-
cal, revolutionary and anticler-
ical events in Italy.In 1868 Don
Bosco indicated that there was
‘a very special reason why the
Church in recent times wished
to invoke Mary as Help of Chris-
tians.’
Usage: Given the specific refer-
ence to ‘Christians’, and given
also the familiar reference to
the briefer Ausiliatrice in other
European languages, many Sale-
sians in countries where Chris-
tianity is in a minority, or where
there might be other particu-
lar difficulties, refer to ‘Mary
our Help’ or something similar.
The English ‘Help of Christians’
does not translate the Italian
Ausiliatrice but the Latin form
– or would it be better to say
that the Italian Ausiliatrice does
not translate the Latin Auxilium
Christianorum?.
Azione Cattolica Catholic Ac-
tion. noun phrase. Organisa-
tion of Catholic laity for special
and direct collaboration with
the apostolate of the Church’s
hierarchy. It has precedents in
various Catholic associations
that arose in the 19th century
in various countries. The move-
ment was strengthened at the
international congress at Ma-
lines (1863) then consolidated
under Leo XIII and his succes-
sors, especially Pius XI (Encycli-
cal Ubi arcano Dei, 1922). Now
extended throughout the world,
though more centralised in
Latin nations and decentralised
in English-speaking countries.
The term comes into existence
well after Don Bosco but as E.
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32
Azione Cattolica
Azione Cattolica
Ceria notes, what else were the
Cooperators if not ‘lay people,
canonically associated (with the
Salesians) to spread, and keep
alive, dependent on ecclesiasti-
cal authority, Christian life in
family and society?’ The beati-
fication of Andrew Marvelli by
John Paul II in August 2004 adds
the Past Pupil to this notion.
The beatifications on that day
were all of members of Catholic
Action from 1924 onwards.
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barrarotta
33
BCS
B
barrarotta Barrarotta or barra
rotta. noun. A game played in
Italy in Don Bosco’s day and
long thereafter in Salesian tradi-
ton. Similar to a game in English
called ‘releaso’ or even to ‘red
rover’, inasmuch as two teams
face each other at some dis-
tance. Barrarotta needs a ref-
eree, because someone has to
determine who left their base-
line first, since that person can
always be ‘tigged’ and captured
by anyone from the other team
who leaves after them.
basilica Basilica. noun. In Ro-
man times, a large rectangular
building, typically with an aisle
on either side of its long nave,
and often with an apse at one
or both ends; used as a meet-
ing place and for the dispens-
ing of justice. Assigned by for-
mal concession or immemor-
ial custom to certain more im-
portant churches in virtue of
which they enjoy privileges of
an honorific character (not al-
ways clearly defined). There are
‘Greater’ or ‘Lesser’ basilicas.
The best known basilica in the
Salesian world – and the first –
was the Basilica of Mary Help
of Christians in Turin. Another
is ‘Sacro Cuore’ (Sacred Heart)
in Rome. In recent years St
John Bosco’s at Cine Città and
the Church of St John Bosco at
Colle Don Bosco have been as-
signed the honour of being ‘mi-
nor basilicas’ (as are the afore-
mentioned basilicas).
BCS Biblioteca Centrale Sale-
siana Salesian Central Library.
abbreviation, initialism. For-
merly located in the General
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34
beatificazione
bimestrale
House but now housed as part
of the UPS Library, it is identi-
fied with the preservation and
making available of books and
publications regarding Salesian-
ity to the Salesian and non-
Salesian world.
beatificazione Beatification. noun.
The act by which the pope
declares that a Servant of God
can be publicly venerated as
Blessed. Also refers to the reli-
gious ceremony at which this
happens; it differs from canon-
isation, of which it is a prelim-
inary step; ‘process’, ‘cause of
beatification’: the procedure by
which the ecclesiastical author-
ity evaluates the qualifications
required to declare a deceased
person as Blessed (Italian beato).
Usage: Generally, in English, the
term (along with the person
who is beatified) is capitalised
as ‘Cause of Beatification’, and
reference to the beatified indi-
vidual is ‘Blessed’. Servo di
Dio.
benefattori 1. Benefactors. 2.
Donors. noun (pl.). Someone
who does good for others, a
philanthropist. Almost a tech-
nical term for Don Bosco, since
he regarded his benefactors
as working partners, not just
money-suppliers.
Biblioteca degli scrittori latini
Library of Latin Authors (or
Writers). noun phrase. A col-
lection of literature published
by Don Bosco in 1866.
Biblioteca della gioventù sale-
siana Library of Italian Youth.
noun phrase. A collection of
literature (for young people)
published by Don Bosco in 1869.
bimestrale Bimonthly. adver-
bial phrase. The problem is
that bimonthly can mean once
every two months or twice a
month! In the publishing indus-
try, however, it is generally ac-
cepted that if a magazine or
journal is bimonthly, it comes
out every two months. This
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35
birichino
borgata
would be the case, for exam-
ple with the rivista bimestrale
known as the Ricerche Storiche
Salesiane. RSS.
birichino 1. cheeky, lively young-
ster. 2. scamp. 3. rascal. 4. mis-
chievous. 5. naughty). noun, also
adjective. Synonyms in Italian
might be monello, discolo (closer
to impudence), or at least the
term as used by Don Bosco
may appear in association with
these.
blog Blog. noun, verb. Blog
could be described as a blend
(web + log) or as a short form.
The word can function as a
noun or a verb in English. From
the base word ‘blog’ we also
derive blogger and blogging. A
website or part of a website
usually maintained by an in-
dividual, often with entries in
reverse chronological order. It
may be commentary or per-
sonal reflection. Many mem-
bers of the Salesian Family run
blogs. When a blog appears on
an institutional site (as in, say,
www.sdb.org) there is a poten-
tial conflict between the seem-
ingly inherent personal nature
of a blog and the institution it
represents by nature of its being
part of that site. sdb.org usually
requests that a blog on its site
involves more than one person
with administrative rights.
bogianen bogianen, bogia nen
pms. noun. A popular nick-
anme for the Piedmontese, aascrib-
ing to them a resolute charac-
ter, once that will not budge in
the face of difficulties. It proba-
bly originates from the actions
of Savoyan soldiers during the
battle of Assietta, a significant
episode of the War of Austrian
Succession that took place on
July 19, 1747. They did not give
up in the face of overwhelming
odds.
borgata Hamlet. noun. A small
area of habitation, perhaps a
collection of just a few homes
or farms (usually stretching
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BS
buon cristiano...
both sides of the road or around
a crossroads), connected to ar-
eas with an essentially rural
economic base, of which it is
the heart. In some large cities
(Rome, Milan), a grouping of
residential buildings in a sub-
urban location but without the
close relationship of continu-
ity, at least originally, with the
suburban districts of the city of
which it is also an administra-
tive part.
The Becchi, where Don Bosco
grew up, is an example of a
borgata. Somewhat larger is a
borgo, such as we might call
a suburb or perhaps better,
a district in English. In Don
Bosco’s case, the nearby Borgo
Dora was an example, an indus-
trial area with very poor, over-
crowded housing, next to Val-
docco, Turin.
BS Bollettino Salesiano SB Sale-
sian Bulletin. abbreviation, ini-
tialism. Magazine founded in
1877 by Don Bosco as a means of
informing his benefactors and
Cooperators of Salesian work
and maintaining them in the
Salesian spirit.
The magazine continues today,
usually under the same title
(but occasionally under a dif-
ferent one, such as Don Bosco
Today (UK), Don Bosco Ajourd’hui
(France)) in more than 60 lan-
guages.
buona notte Goodnight (or
good night) noun phrase.
A few words said towards
evening, arising from a tradition
begun by Don Bosco’s mother at
the Oratory and continued by
Don Bosco. May also be spelt as
two words: good night.
Usage: Depending on circum-
stances, and it is certainly the
case in the East Asia-Oceania
region, the Goodnight (some-
times also referred to as the
Goodnight talk), can become a
Good morning or Good after-
noon talk.
buon cristiano... Good Chris-
tian... noun phrase. The en-
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37
buon cristiano...
buon cristiano...
tire phrase is (in Italian) buon
cristiano e onesto cittadino, nor-
mally translated as ‘good Chris-
tian and upright citizen’, al-
though Don Bosco used sev-
eral versions of this along the
lines of ‘civilisation and reli-
gion’, ‘civilisation and evange-
lisation’, ‘fostering the good of
humanity and religion’.
A shorthand phrase used by
Don Bosco to represent his ed-
ucational manifesto, traditional
in flavour but ever open to new
interpretation (Cf. P. Braido, Pre-
venire, non reprimere, p. 231).
Don Bosco had almost certainly
heard variants of this phrase
from prominent religious edu-
cators before him (e.g. Lodovico
Pavoni 1784–1849) who founded
the Congregation of the Sons
of Mary Immaculate in Brescia
some years before him.
Don Bosco had a broad set of
intentions in mind when he
used this phrase. Effectively, he
meant everything that young
people need in order to live
their human and Christian life
to the full: clothing, food, some-
where to live, work, study,
free time; joy, friendship; active
faith, God’s grace, following a
path to holiness; involvement,
energy, being part of society and
Church.
Usage: The Italian term onesto,
while of course also meaning
‘honest’, has a broader sense of
being an upright person, and
this is closer to Don Bosco’s in-
tent when he speaks of the on-
esto cittadino. We often see the
phrase translated as ‘...honest
citizen’ but this is a restrictive
interpretation.
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Cafasso
38
Cagliero
C
Cafasso Giuseppe Joseph Cafasso. ally spelt the name as Caffasso.
proper name. Member of the
Turinese clergy, first encoun-
tered by young John Bosco
when the former was a 1st year
student of theology at the sem-
inary. Don Bosco tells us that it
was from Cafasso that he first
learned of the importance of
the liturgy as the priestly the-
atre and recreation. When Don
Bosco enrolled at the Convitto
Ecclesiastico, Cafasso was a pro-
fessor of theology there. By 1846
he was the Rector. Don Bosco
says of Cafasso that his secret
was his tranquility, always smil-
ing, always courteous, always
kind. Cafasso was one of the im-
portant sources of the Salesian
style and the Preventive System.
Linguistic note: Interesting to
note that Don Bosco occasion-
Cagliero Giovanni John Cagliero.
proper name. As a boy, a mem-
ber of the first group to be in-
vited to form the Salesian Soci-
ety at the Oratory. On 26 Jan-
uary 1854, Cagliero, Rua, Ro-
chetti, Artiglia, together with
Don Bosco, gathered in his
room at his request and the
proposal was made to exer-
cise practical charity towards
their neighbour. This event was
also the first when the name
‘Salesian’ was applied. He be-
came the first Salesian bishop
while Don Bosco was still alive.
Later, he became cardinal. He
led the first missionary expedi-
tion. There is the famous photo
of Don Bosco handing him the
Constitutions on the occasion
of the departure to Argentina
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39
Cagliero11
Canção Nova
in 1875.
father, by his own estimation.
Cagliero11 proper name. (Note
that the 11 is connected to
the name). A a newsletter (e-
newsletter) whose first edition
was published on 11 January
2009, during the 150th anniver-
Fr Calosso set him on his way
as a young student, but also
in terms of spiritual direction.
The death of Calosso and subse-
quent events were also decisive
in Bosco’s spiritual journey.
sary of the beginning of the camerette Don Bosco’s rooms.
Salesian Congregation (see pre- noun (pl.). Reference to the
vious entry). Its aim is ‘to reach rooms built by Don Bosco and
every Salesian community in where he lived at the time at
the world to remind ourselves the Oratory. These days con-
at least once a month to pray verted to a museum in memory
for our missionaries ad gentes. of Don Bosco. Museo Casa
Don Bosco.
Cagliero Project proper name.
A project providing long term Canção Nova Canção Nova
meaningful volunteer placements Community. proper name. A
working with disadvantaged Private International Associa-
young people in a Salesian set- tion of the Faithful in canonical
ting. The Cagliero Project gives terms and member of the Sale-
young Australians an opportu- sian Family, Canção Nova has as
nity to devote six to twelve its main objective ‘to evangelise
months in volunteer service to through media’: TV, Radio, Inter-
youth overseas and in Australia. net and audiovisual products,
Calosso Giovanni Melchiorre
Calosso. proper name. The
young John Bosco’s priest-friend
whom he loved more than a
book publication and sales, CDs,
videos amongst others.
In 1977, during a meeting with
young people, Fr Jonas Abib
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40
cancelliere
capitolo CG, CI...
SDB made an appeal to those
present: ‘Who would like to give
a year of their lives to God?’ Sur-
prisingly, many said yes. On 2
February 1978, 12 young people
began to live in community, in
Lorena (SP, Brazil). The Canção
Nova Community came from
this.
It has full time and part time
membership, the latter being
part of their normal family,
professional and social life but
lived with missionary intent.
The group was accepted into
the Salesian Family in 2009.
cancelliere 1. registrar or pos-
sibly, notary. 2. chancellor (Ital-
ian title for various state roles).
3. Chancellor (university, Ger-
many...). noun. Originally the
person responsible for the gates
controlling entry to the court,
then became a title for clerks,
officials, dignitaries. If we were
to always translate this term as
‘chancellor’ in English it could
lead people to believe it is a far
more important term than it is!
Hence the choice of ‘registrar’
or ‘notary’, which is closer to
the original meaning expressed
in the definition above. There
are times. however, when con-
text will indicate ‘Chancellor’ as
the correct choice. Not to be
capitalised, unless it is in ref-
erence to the Rector Major as
Grand Chancellor of the UPS.
attuario, notaio
capitolo 1. chapter (group).
2. chapter (book). noun. We
are mainly interested, here, in
‘chapter’ as a group. In a Sale-
sian context there is a ‘Capi-
tolo Generale’ (CG) or General
Chapter (GC), a ‘Capitolo Ispet-
toriale’ (CI) or Provincial Chap-
ter (PC), and there used be a
‘capitolo della casa’ or house
chapter, a term now out of use
and replaced with Community
Council or just House Council
more commonly. consiglio
della casa.
Can. 631 §1 In an institute the
general chapter has supreme
authority in accordance with
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41
capitolo superiore
capitolo superiore
the constitutions. It is to be
composed in such a way that
it represents the whole insti-
tute and becomes a true sign
of its unity in charity. Its prin-
cipal functions are to protect
the patrimony of the institute
mentioned in Can. 578 and to
foster appropriate renewal in
accord with that patrimony. It
also elects the supreme Mod-
erator, deals with matters of
greater importance, and issues
norms which all are bound to
obey.
C. 146 The general chapter is the
principal sign of the Congrega-
tion’s unity in diversity...
C. 147 The general chapter has
supreme authority over the So-
ciety and exercises it in accor-
dance with the law...
C. 170. The provincial chapter
is the fraternal gathering in
which the local communities
strengthen their sense of be-
longing to the provincial com-
munity... It is also the repre-
sentative assembly of all the
confreres and local communi-
ties. It deliberates about mat-
ters which regard the province,
with the exception of whatever
is entrusted by the Constitu-
tions and Regulations to other
organs of government. Often
capitalised as General Chapter
GC or Provincial Chapter PC.
Linguistic note: Although the
English translation of the Con-
stitutions uses these terms of-
ten in lower case, it would be
normal to refer to the General
Chapter and Provincial Chapter
in upper case.
capitolo superiore Superior
Chapter. noun phrase. The
name given to the group of
councillors who, under Don
Bosco, made up the central gov-
ernment of the Society. In 1966
the group was enlarged and
its name changed to Superior
Council. Finally, in 1984, the cen-
tral government was reorgan-
ised and the name was changed
to General Council.
The term is now out of use and
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42
car ij mè fieuj
carisma
replaced by Consiglio Generale
(CG) or General Council (GC).
car ij mè fieuj [pms] My dear
children. noun phrase. A Pied-
montese phrase regularly used
by Don Bosco to address either
his boys or his Salesians.
carisma 1. charism. 2. spirit of
the founder. noun. In religious
language, grace in general as a
gift bestowed by God; in Chris-
tian theological language, sanc-
tifying grace given to all believ-
ers through baptism, or a gift
granted a person for the bene-
fit of the community, and hence
an attitude of service of others.
In this case there is a distinction
between natural and supernat-
ural gifts.
While the term goes back to
St Paul (cf. 1 Corinthians), one
can search in vain for it in Sale-
sian literature until 1977, when
Fr Viganò became Rector Ma-
jor, hence we could also in-
dicate this term as a neolo-
gism in Salesian discourse. It
came into its own as a result
of the Second Vatican Coun-
cil and in particular the subse-
quent documentation on con-
secrated life and the ‘found-
ing charism’ or ‘charism of the
founder’, though Vatican II it-
self spoke rather of the ‘spirit
of the founder’, other terms like
‘charism of the founder’ com-
ing later. At this point it be-
came much clearer that as con-
secrated life is not part of the
Church’s very constitution, but
a result of gifts of the Holy
Spirit, there is a distinction be-
tween the ‘ecclesial structure’
and the ‘charismatic structure’.
Consecrated life, religious life
belong to the latter. This is
an important distinction in the
Church’s life today.
Usage: When we speak of the
carisma salesiano or Salesian
charism, context will decide
whether we are speaking about
the charism of St Francis de
Sales or of Don Bosco, but it is
always a charism that can be
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43
carità
carta della missione
lived out by all members of the
Salesian Family (be that of St
Francis de Sales or Don Bosco).
carità Charity. noun phrase.
The love that unites human be-
ings to God and among them-
selves, in the Christian un-
derstanding of the term. For
Catholics, charity is one of the
three theological virtues, and
according to St Paul, the great-
est of them. Desramaut includes
the term among his 100 key
words of Salesian spirituality.
From the very beginning, from
the famous ‘promise of char-
ity’, Don Bosco spoke of the ex-
ercise of charity toward one’s
neighbour as the purpose of his
emerging Society.
Mention should be made here
of a very specific use of the
word ‘charity ’ by Don Bosco,
which we now know as the
promise of charity. promessa
di carità.
carità pastorale Pastoral char-
ity. noun phrase. An apostolic
impetus that makes us seek
souls and serve God alone. (C.
10 SDB Constitutions). Salesian
Constitution 10 goes on to de-
scribe pastoral charity as ‘char-
acterised by that youthful dy-
namism which was revealed so
strongly in our Founder and at
the beginnings of our Society.’
The Charter of Salesian Iden-
tity indicates that pastoral char-
ity, which finds its source and
model in the Good Shepherd,
was a constant inspiration for
Don Bosco in his work as an ed-
ucator and evangeliser, guiding
his life, prayer and missionary
impulse. (Charter of Identity, 24
May 2011).
carta della missione Carta
della Missione della Famiglia Sale-
siana. Salesian Mission State-
ment. noun phrase. Inspira-
tional document produced in
2000 for the entire Salesian
Family. From the presentation
of the document on 25 Novem-
ber 2000: it offers ‘the orien-
tation and sensitivity of the
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44
carta di comunione
carta di comunione
Groups of the Salesian Family
in terms of apostolic mission.’
It calls for a commitment from
each of the Family Groups that
is characterised as a Salesian
commitment.
Usage: One sometimes hears
reference to ‘card’, as in ‘Mis-
sion card’ or ‘Identity card’,
which in the latter case is a
separate document. Certainly
the first makes little sense
in English; the second does
make sense (people hold iden-
tity cards after all) but the na-
ture of the document is more
a ‘charter’ than it is a mere
legal document. The Italian
carta covers a range of possi-
ble meanings: card, documents,
charter, certificate.
That said, it is also true that
there has been some confusion
in translation of carta over the
years, and we are now saddled
with terms that might leave
one unsure just which ‘char-
ter’ is being referred to. In the
case of the Year 2000 document,
it is called the ‘Salesian Mis-
sion Statement’. Cf. the follow-
ing two entries.
carta di comunione Carta di
comunione nella Famiglia Sale-
siana 1. Common Identity Card.
2. Salesian Identity Card. 3. Char-
ter of Communion. noun phrase.
On 31 January 1995, the then
Rector Major, Fr Egidio Viganò,
gave the Salesian Family the
‘Common Identity Card’ (Carta
di Comunione in its original
Italian title), and some years
later, his successor, Fr Juan Ed-
mundo Vecchi, gave the Fam-
ily the ‘Common Mission State-
ment’. These two documents
helped the various groups to
deepen their common spiritu-
ality and apostolate. The ‘Com-
mon Identity Card’ should not
be confused with the ‘Charter
of Charismatic Identity of the
Salesian Family’ announced at
the concluding session of the
28th Salesian Family Spirituality
Days (January 2012).’
The Common Identity Card (See
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45
carta d’identità carismatica
casa
previous entry for comment on
use of ‘card’) is a contribution
of reflection on the Salesian
spirit, presenting ‘the funda-
mental elements which build
up unity in Don Bosco’s spirit’.
The Salesian Family is a vast
movement comprising congre-
gations, institutes and associ-
ations, both religious and lay,
that have grown out of the
heart and pastoral experience
of Don Bosco’s charism. Besides
the first groups founded by
Don Bosco himself, others have
emerged over time which are
seen to share a common mis-
sion with them: namely, the
evangelisation and education
of young people, especially the
most needy.
carta d’identità carismatica The
full Italian title is Carta di Iden-
tità Carismatica della Famiglia
Salesiana di Don Bosco or Charter
of Charismatic Identity of the
Salesian Family. noun phrase.
What is described in this Char-
ter, which includes and inte-
grates the two previous ones, is
the charismatic identity of the
Salesian Family, that is, every-
thing that refers to the mission,
spirit, relationships, formation,
methods of education and evan-
gelisation. Certainly also the
history of the charism, consid-
ered in its origins and in its de-
velopment, is part of identity; in
fact, an identity without mem-
ory, having no roots, is with-
out a future. For this reason,
the Charter gathers the expe-
rience of the different Groups
of the Family, summarising the
identity of the Salesian charism
that is the heritage of all. The
Charter of Charismatic Identity
of the Salesian Family of Don
Bosco is dated 31 January 2012.
Usage: See ‘carta della missione’
above for comment on termi-
nology used in these various
charters.
casa House. noun. Can. 608:
A religious community is to live
in a lawfully constituted house,
under the authority of a Supe-
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46
casa annessa
casa annessa
rior designated according to the
norms of law. Understood in
canonical terms as a public non-
collegial juridical person. Each
house is to have at least an or-
atory, in which the Eucharist
is celebrated and reserved, so
that it may truly be the centre
of the community. Can. 609 §1:
A house of a religious institute
is established, with the prior
written consent of the diocesan
Bishop, by the authority com-
petent according to the consti-
tutions.
Usage: The Italian word, but
perhaps the English word as
well, has broader meaning also
of ‘home’. It is worthwhile re-
calling this factor (the ‘family’
feel of casa), since there is a
tendency today to speak more
often of our opere, ‘works’. An
authoritative commentator on
Don Bosco’s times, especially on
life at the Oratory, A. Caviglia,
points out that Don Bosco’s Ora-
tory had to be a home, i.e. a fam-
ily, not just a collegio or board-
ing establishment or school.
Note the expression casa che
accoglie..., ‘a home that wel-
comed’, in C. 40.
The various ‘Lives’ (of young
people) that Don Bosco wrote
also stress this family atmos-
phere. It is essential to the Pre-
ventive System. (A. Caviglia, La
vita di Besucco francesco... pp
157–58.
casa annessa 1. House attached
(to the Oratory). 2. the annex.
3. home attached to the ora-
tory noun phrase. The home
or hostel or shelter and board-
ing house (established in 1847
and attached to the Oratory).
Don Bosco’s preferred name for
this boarding house was Casa
annessa all’Oratorio di SFdS,
House Attached to the Oratory’.
In 1847, Don Bosco began a work
of rehabilitation of youngsters
deprived of a place to live, by
taking up some more space
in the Pinardi House. It began
simply as a place from where
they could attend school or go
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47
casa di beneficenza
casa generalizia
to work in the city. It gradu-
ally became a boarding school
and was the beginnings of the
convitto-collegio experience.
casa di beneficenza House of
charity. noun phrase. An ex-
ample is the Regia Opera di
Mendicità Istruita or the Royal
Work for the Education of the
Poor, which gave basic educa-
tion (mainly to girls) in Turin in
the 1850s.
The term was in use in Don
Bosco’s time, and he often made
appeals to existing charitable
institutions, be they religious or
secular, for financial assistance.
But it became crucial in 1879
when Don Bosco was fighting
a Leftist Government in order
to keep his secondary classes
(ginnasio) open at the Oratory.
The Government looked upon
his school as a ginnasio pri-
vato or private secondary school
(with strict regulations regard-
ing teacher certification etc.),
whereas Don Bosco wanted to
argue it was either a ginnasio
privato gestito da una casa di
beneficenza (private secondary
school run by a house of char-
ity) or a scuola paterna (or is-
tituto paterno) or home school.
This would have meant spend-
ing less money on teacher qual-
ification. He even presented a
petition to the King, Le scuole
di beneficenza dell’Oratorio di S.
Francesco di Sales davanti al Con-
siglio di Stato. Oratory classes
were closed because of his non-
conmpliance and were not re-
opened until he complied with
the request for teachers who
were properly accredited. Don
Bosco lost this battle!
Casa Don Bosco For this
Museo Casa Don Bosco.
casa generalizia 1. General House.
2. Generalate. noun phrase.
House belonging to the Father
(Mother) General of a religious
order. To be distinguished from
Direzione Generale, though this
latter is housed in the Casa Gen-
eralizia, ‘Sacro Cuore’, Rome.
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48
casa madre
Cascina (Biglione)
Usage: Note that in English the
term covers the whole estab-
lishment. In Italian there is a
clearer distinction between the
direzione generale and the casa
generalizia which tends to be
the community as such, includ-
ing members who do not work
in the Direzione Generale.
casa madre Mother house.
noun phrase. Refers to Val-
docco, Turin always, whereas
occasionally these days the Casa
Generalizia (Rome) is referred to
as the Casa del Padre, or the ’Fa-
ther’s house’, though this latter
term is now more likely to be
restricted to being a synonym
of Heaven. News of a deceased
confrere is often described as
him going alla Casa del Padre.
Casa Pinardi The Pinardi House.
noun phrase. Reference to the
beginnings of the Oratory and
the famous snatch of conver-
sation recorded by Don Bosco
between himself and Pancrazio
Soave offering a place for a lab-
oratorio instead of an oratorio
(recorded in the Memoirs of the
Oratory). It was really a tettoia
or a shed or lean-to hanging off
the back of a building, and even-
tually Don Bosco bought the en-
tire building. None of the ac-
tual Pinardi Shed remains, but
its location is designated more
or less by the Pinardi chapel at
Valdocco.
Cascina (Biglione) (Biglione)
farmstead. noun phrase. The
term cascina refers to a size-
able farmhouse and to the
farmlands connected with it.
(Source: Lenti, Don Bosco History
and Spirit Vol 1 p. 34). The cascina
was a social-agricultural unit
usually of moderate size (say, 20
acres), with one central build-
ing that originally housed an ex-
tended family. The man who ran
the farm and lived with his fam-
ily in a section of the farmhouse
was called a massaro (share-
cropper). In the case of the
Biglione cascina at The Becchi,
the owners lived in Turin and
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49
casetta
CDB
employed a tenant farmer who
lived at the cascina. The tenant
farmer was termed a mezzadro
or ’half sharecropper’, since ac-
cording to unwritten Piedmon-
tese law, he worked for half the
produce. Francis Bosco was this
person at the Cascina Biglione.
casetta (i Becchi) (The Bec-
chi) cottage or small house.
noun phrase. The place where
Don Bosco grew up (his home)
at The Becchi is referred to
in Italian as the Casetta. Now
turned into a museum. It was
not where he was born – al-
most certainly that was in
the Biglione farmstead. But the
Casetta was a small building
nearby that his father bought
and refurbished for his family.
Usage: In some English-speaking
countries we cannot use the
term ‘little house’ (which has
the connotation of ‘outhouse’)
or ‘cottage’ with less savoury
meanings.
catechismo 1. catechism les-
son. 2. catechism. 3. catechetics.
noun. (1) ‘... this Congregation
was just a catechism class‘ (Don
Bosco, Cenno Istorico). Here the
term embraces the activities,
content of Don Bosco’s partic-
ular way of instructing young
people to be ‘good Christians
and upright citizens’. (2) Sum-
mary of religious doctrine often
in the form of question and an-
swer. (3) Don Bosco’s very first
description of his congregation
was of a group of people who
gave catechetical instruction or
that had that as its prior aim.
CDB Volontari Con Don Bosco
CDB. Volunteers With Don Bosco
CDB. abbreviation, initialism.
The CDB are consecrated lay
Salesians. They recognise the
Rector Major, successor to Don
Bosco, as the centre of unity.
The group, which has official
membership of the Salesian
Family, has a Central Moderator
(Responsabile Centrale in Ital-
ian) with a Council, and a (Sale-
sian) Ecclesiastical Assistant ap-
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Ceferino Namuncurá
Ceferino Namuncurá
pointed by the Rector Major.
The firs