Over 150 educators from our Salesian Schools and Retreat Centres in Great Britain took part in a Salesian Education Conference on Saturday 9th October 2010. The theme of the day was Educating Young People to Social Justice. The conference, organised by the Salesian Youth Ministry Team and facilitated by YAT (the Youth Advisory Team), took place in the Archbishop Grimshaw Catholic High School in Solihull, near Birmingham.
Teachers and senior staff from the five secondary schools run by the Salesians of Don Bosco and the one secondary school run by the Salesian Sisters were present, together with members of the youth retreat teams from Savio House and Brettargh Holt.
There were three main speakers. Mr David Wells, a member of the Plymouth Diocesan Department of Formation specialising in adult Religious Education, gave the first presentation on the Church’s teaching on Social Justice, with particular reference to the recent visit of Pope Benedict XVI to the UK. Sr Ann Teresa, a sister of St Joseph of Annecy and Founder of the Medaille Trust, spoke about her work with the victims of human trafficking. In the afternoon Fr David O’Malley SDB, the well known writer on Salesian Education and Spirituality, showed how the Church’s teaching on Social Justice and the UN Rights of a Child can be lived out in the Salesian realities of Family, Church, School and Playground. Fr O’Malley illustrated his talk with several amusing practical exercises which caught the imagination of the audience.
There was also a short presentation about Bosco Volunteer Action (BOVA) by James Trewby, the National Organiser, and James Murray, a past pupil of Thornleigh Salesian College Bolton, who had recently spent time working as a volunteer with the Salesians in Baku, Azerbaijan.
As Saturday October 9th was the feast day of Blessed John Henry Newman, we ended the conference with a Mass in his honour, celebrated by Fr Martin Coyle SDB, our GBR Provincial.