Salesian Family and Don Bosco Green Alliance

02 Aug 2018

Dear Salesian Family,

Photo Credit: ANS

Sometimes when our organizations write documents at the end of conferences or congresses, we acknowledge that these documents preserve the priorities of those who met, and may even propose some practical recommendations. At the same time, we have to acknowledge that these documents, as inspiring as they are, often are put on a shelf and left there. We can go back to them years later and realize not too much has changed.

I’d like to draw your attention to a document written four years ago—that of the SDBs’ General Chapter 27, more specifically to paragraph 73, point 6, “To bring about these processes we commit ourselves to: … sensitizing communities and the young to respect for creation, educating them to ecological responsibility through concrete activities which safeguard the environment and sustainable development.” These words were written in April 2014. Have they become like so many other documents, left on the shelf, or have they guided us in bringing about conversion that helps us to be better servants of the young?

In case we didn’t pay attention to GC27, para. 73.6, there is another document with which we might be more familiar. Just one year after the end of GC27, on May 24, 2015 (Pentecost Sunday), Pope Francis published the encyclical letter Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home. Not only the Catholic community but the entire world has paid attention to the Catholic Church’s teaching on integral ecology, climate change, environmental challenges, poverty, and our relationship with God, our brothers and sisters, and the gifts entrusted to us by the Creator. Young people from Salesian organizations and institutions on every continent are not only reading the document; they are actually doing something about it, and we can join them. I’m talking about the Don Bosco Green Alliance. I encourage you to explore the website

The Don Bosco Green Alliance is a practical way for young people, faculty and staff, families, and members of the Salesian Family to realize what was presented four years ago at GC27 and then presented as official teaching of the Catholic Church in Laudato Si’. DB Green Alliance focuses on three priorities: 1. combatting pollution; 2. reducing global warming; 3. eliminating disposable plastics. There are some achievable goals under each of these priorities. There is also an easy way to register your Salesian presence to be part of the alliance.

Some of our Salesian organizations and institutions may have a barrel for recycling plastic bottles and aluminum cans or a dumpster for cardboard. That’s a good start, but we can do better. As we begin the new academic-pastoral year, this would be a good time to give permission to the youth ministry team or the ecology club or the Confirmation classes to lead the entire EPC in making changes that reflect our faith as well as the specific point of GC27. Why not encourage the president or principal or pastor or director of your Salesian presence to register with the Don Bosco Green Alliance?

We all join the Salesian Sisters in prayer on Sunday, August 5, as they celebrate first professions and perpetual professions. May God raise up many young people from our families and Salesian presences who will answer the Lord’s call to follow him as Salesian religious.

Fr. Tim Zak

Photo Credit: Fr. Mike Mendl


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