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Mumbai Province INB

- Journeying with the young




►The Salesians
►The History
►Don Bosco, the poor boy's saint
►The Work
►Do you feel at home with youngsters?
►A Parting Message
Contact Us
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


The Salesians

The Salesians are a worldwide organization founded by St. John Bosco, the third largest Catholic religious order in the world! Don Bosco gathered a number of priests and lay people together to found a religious congregation in the Catholic Church. He called this congregation the Salesian Society. It was named after St. Francis de Sales who was known for his kind and gentle manner, a trait which Don Bosco wanted his Salesians to acquire. He also chose Mar
y, Help of Christans, as the patroness of the Salesian Society. The Shrine of Don Bosco's Madonna is pleased to present: The Salesians by Fr. Brian Moras, SDB.


The History

Southeastern France and Western Switzerland, in past centuries, were united as the Kingdom of Savoy and, later, with northwestern Italy, as the Kingdom of Sardinia. One of the ducal families was the de Sales family. From this family came Francis [1567-1622], youngest of thirteen children, who became a civil and canon [Church] lawyer. His father wanted him to enter the diplomatic service. Instead, he became a priest and, later, Bishop of Geneva. Because Geneva was a Calvinist stronghold, Francis never resided in his See. Instead, he ministered to his people from Annecy, a charming town nestled in the foothills of the French Alps.

In the Piedmont area of northwestern Italy the devotion to St. Francis de Sales was inculcated in every child. St. John Bosco was a native of the same area. Most of his adult life was spent in the Piedmont capital city of Turin, where he ministered to poor and abandoned youth through youth centers ("oratories"), schools, and parishes. To further his spirit of attracting, protecting, and educating youth, he gathered outstanding alumni of his works who were unconditionally devoted to him.

In 1859, he gathered a handful of young men and proposed the idea of a religious society which was less rigorous and confining than the great Orders of the Church at that time. His followers were to "roll up their shirtsleeves" and mingle with the boys, gaining their respect and love, and thus be in a position to advise and train them in a way described as "loving-kindness." His motto "Give me Souls, you can have the rest," was put into practice through "reason, religion, and kindness."

As time went on his collaborators, instead of referring to themselves as members of the "Pious Society of St. Francis de Sales," shortened it to "Salesian." The Catholic Church gave final approval of his society in 1874.

The order grew with miraculous speed. In 1872, St. John Bosco, with St. Mary Mazzarello, co-founded the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (Salesian Sisters). The religious branches of the Salesians currently number 40,000 and are found in 121 nations throughout the world. They also staff many mission foundations, mostly in Third-World countries. Today the Salesians of Don Bosco are the third-largest order in the Catholic church.

Don Bosco, the poor boy's saint

"John Bosco had a tremendous love for the poor; he always saw Jesus in them; he took Jesus at His word. He knew that whatever he did for street children, he did for Jesus, and this was not just an act of faith, but a real conviction."  -Mother Teresa of Calcutta

The Salesian story begins with Saint John Bosco in the mid-nineteenth century. A farm boy from the Piedmont region of Italy, he grew to manhood with a deep desire to help young people who appeared to be abandoned by society.

Some called him a madman. You won't believe this, but his fellow-priests looking at him running, jumping and playing among the street urchins, holding his cassock high with his hands, thought him to be one. In those days, 1841 to be precise, a priest was not supposed to 'dirty himself' by mixing around with ordinary people. And God forbid, if he were to play games, that too with the dirty and homeless boys on the streets!

Don Bosco did exactly that. He played with them, cried with them, took care of them, built schools and boardings for them. He gave his whole life for them.

Initially the youngsters were attracted to him because of his skill as an acrobat, a magician, a card player, a musician. He led his bands of city toughs and homeless youngsters on hikes through the countryside and on outings to the famous spots of Turin. He organized them into choirs and brass bands, troupes and self help groups. When cholera struck Turin, he organized them into nursing teams.

Don Bosco named his first gathering place the "Oratory of Saint Francis de Sales" and later named his permanent band of assistants "Salesians", that is imitators of Francis de Sales, the Geneva bishop remembered for his missionary zeal, his simple and popular style, and his gentleness. The Salesians bear his name as a reminder that reason, religion and kindness are the hallmark of their educational method.

The educational work of Don Bosco is carried on today by an organization linked by philosophy and purpose to a worldwide network called the Salesian Family. The Salesian Society (SDB), is a community of priests and brothers with religious vows. The Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (FMA), also known as the Salesian Sisters, is a similar institute for women. Lay persons who participate in the Salesian work from their homes or places of business are known as Salesian Co-operators. A secular Institute of men and women with religious vows who live in their homes without the outward signs of consecrated life are known as the Don Bosco Volunteers. The Past-Pupils Association consists of students who have been members of Salesian Institutions; they also form part of the Salesian Family.

The Work

When St. John Bosco founded the Salesians in 1859, his mission was clear and simple: to be a friend - a friend to kids who were poor, kids abandoned, kids at risk - and, in so doing, to be a friend to Christ. Today, this Catholic religious organization continues doing the work of the Lord in the spirit of its founder - with over 40,000 Salesian priests, brothers, sisters, and lay people working in 120 countries all over the world.

Salesian Missionaries care for disadvantaged youth in developing countries. They do this through education, job training and constructive recreational activities. Their objective is to help youngsters achieve intellectual, emotional and spiritual maturity, thus becoming self-sufficient contributing members of society, with Christian values and good social skills.

Salesian Missionaries also reach out to the community by assisting poor families and the elderly through varied social services. The Salesian Mission Office informs the public of the work of our Missionaries. We invite people of good will to participate in the support of our programs through their gifts and their prayers. We pray for all who request prayers and we carry on a ministry of distributing religious and inspirational literature to the public.

Do you feel at home with youngsters?

Is the Lord calling you to work in his Vineyard? Do you feel at home with youngsters, more so the young at risk? The Lord may be calling you to be His Salesian!

To be a Salesian is to be another Don Bosco, always present to the young, wherever they may be - especially those on the streets, those from broken families, those who have none to call their own, the poor and the abandoned; and to do it with a cheerful heart. For it is God's work!

You can be a Salesian either as a brother or as a priest. There are two basic ways of living the Salesian (SDB) vocation: brotherhood and priesthood. It all depends on what God is calling you to do. The Salesian brother has traditionally been associated with technical schools, but many brothers also work with street boys, or as principals of academic schools, or in the field of social work and development. The Salesian priest works side by side with the Salesian brother in the service of young people, but brings to them the ministry of the priesthood, most especially in the area of spiritual direction, the sacrament of reconciliation and the Eucharist.

A road map to becoming a Salesian

A Salesian Brother

Aspirant - till XII
1year - Prenovitiate
1 year - Novitiate
First Profession
2 years Magistero Studies
3 years Graduate/Professional studies
2 years Practical Training
Perpetual Commitment


A Salesian Priest
Aspirant - till XII
1 year - Prenovitiate
1 year - Novitiate
First Profession
2 years Philosophical studies
2/3 years Graduate/Professional/PG studies
2 years Practical Training
Perpetual Commitment
4 years Theological studies

Contact us

If you are interested in more information on Salesian vocations, please contact your nearest Salesian community. In India, please write to

Rev. Fr. Brian Moras SDB

Don Bosco Provincial House, Post Bag - 16637

Matunga, Mumbai 400 019

Phone : 24180314/24180316

Mobile: 9820514721


Website - Province:


Vocation Enquiry Form :

Full Name :
Email :
Address :

Phone :

Message / Query :



A Parting Message

It was in a large gathering of youngsters in Italy that the Salesians asked the youngsters the all important question: "Why is it that so few of you think of joining the Priesthood, Brotherhood and the Sisterhood?" The answer they received was an unexpected one, it was "Nobody asked us, nobody encouraged us, and we didn't know how to go about it."

The Salesians realized that they had made a mistake in the West, they had made the mistake of thinking that their huge institutions would speak for themselves. We need to learn from our Lord Jesus who himself felt the need of approaching people personally and extending to them a personal invitation to follow Him. "Come and See", said the Lord to Andrew and the other disciple in the Gospel of St. John, chp. 2. "Follow me and I will make you fisher of men", said our Lord to Simon Peter our first Pope. "Follow me" said Jesus to the corrupt tax collector, Mathew.

Jesus will say in Scripture, "Many are called, but few are chosen". I believe very strongly that what Jesus really meant is this, "Many are called, but very few have the courage, the faith, and the trust to say Yes to the Lord; so we have a few who are chosen". Jesus will further say, "The harvest is so rich, but the laborers are so few. Hence, pray to the Lord of the Harvest, to send laborers into his harvest." Hence the need of deep prayer especially in the family in discerning this privileged calling to work in the Lord's Vineyard.

The all important question is how do I know whether I've got a Vocation? I think the question we need to ask first is, "What are the different ways the Lord calls?" In the Scripture we see, the Lord choses whom he wants. We have the disciple Paul, who had to be struck down from the horse to realize that Jesus is Lord and Saviour and hence his decision to serve the Lord alone. We have the young boy Samuel being called, when he did not even know the Lord……..

How does the Lord call today??? I put this question to the many groups I speak to in schools, youth groups, and sometimes in the parishes. The common answers are: in dreams, some further say - in my dream I would find myself saying Mass or preaching, some will add through prayer, while reading the bible, inspired by a teacher or my parents, through an accident……… all these answers are correct, though each have their own limitation. It is very interesting speaking to youngsters about a religious calling. Most of them will smile and call out someone else's name as a worthy candidate. Very few believe that the Good Lord could be extending a personal invitation to them.

The reasons for this are many. One of the important reasons is the very small families that we have nowadays. Hum do, humare do (we two, ours two). Or in some cases, hum do, humare ek (we two, ours one). The cost of living, and competition for jobs has gone up so much, and faith in God has come down so much that accepting more children as a gift from the Lord is unacceptable.

Another important reason is the lack of prayer in the family and to add to this the lack of love for Priests, Brothers and Sisters. We can be very uncharitable to our Spiritual leaders in our conversations sometimes especially in the family.

To add to this we have the exposure to life which is mind boggling. Be it the TV, Internet or the written media. "Live life king size, is the running motto". The need to experience as much as possible without getting caught is another big temptation. Morality today appears to be on the wane. How can a religious Vocation flower in such settings? Herein, we can truly say, "Many are called, but few are chosen".

We also need to add that the demands that Religious Life makes can discourage many a youngster.

Fortunately, ours is an awesome God who is even today calling youngsters to serve Him exclusively. He puts this desire in their hearts right from a young age. Where there is prayer in the family, love and unity among the parents and love and respect for Priests, Brothers and Sisters, in that family a vocation will nurture. The family is the nurturing ground, good families (even though we have our regular fights, misunderstandings) will bear good fruit. The mere desire of the youngster to come to church and serve at the Lord's altar are very positive signs.

Our Father Don Bosco was crazy about Vocations. In his life time, even by 1877, he had promoted nearly 6000 priests to his congregation and also to the diocese. Don Bosco would often say: "A Priest, Brother or Sister is the greatest gift that the good Lord could give to a family. When a person leaves to join the religious life, the Lord himself takes the place of that person in the family."

It is true and I know it for a fact. The Lord takes care of the family, much more than we could even dream of doing ourselves. The good Lord can never be outdone in generosity. Great is the joy of parents of having one of their sons or daughters full time in the service of Jesus. It actually keeps them healthy, happy and always grateful to the almighty for this special gift.

Don Bosco would further say to the Rectors in a conference which he gave in 1877 "As of now, fostering vocations is the main objective of our Congregation. The unusual scarcity of priests which worsens every year is presently our gravest threat… first seek those who may be inclined to join our Congregation, but do not push anyone into it."

It is no secret that in the West the number of vocations is on the decline. The Western Church today is looking to the East, and especially India for its healthy revival. It is no secret that the Western people love the Priests and Sisters coming from India, if you don't believe me kindly ask our Parish Priest Fr. Colbert who has recently returned from the USA, the people there wanted him to stay. "In earlier times the Western Missionaries came to preach the good news and to baptize in the name of the Lord; it is time today" the Holy Father would say "that the Indian priests now come back as Missionaries to the West. The Indian Church has received much and much is demanded now in return." India, even today is looked upon as a land of deep spirituality. Looking at the Salesian world which numbers approximately 17,000 Salesian Frs. and Bros. working in 129 countries, of these 2,500 Salesians hail from India, working in 9 provinces.

When a social worker asked Mother Teresa, "Mother what is the difference between you and me?" The most humble Mother said, "Both of us are the same, except that when you work, you work for something, whereas, I work for someone."

When what I plan for myself matches with the plan the good Lord has for me, then we will be truly happy in life. If the Lord calls you to it, then no matter how difficult it gets, he will see you through it! If the Lord has put the desire in any one of your hearts to be a Salesian Priest or Brother or Sister, have the humility to say Yes!

God bless you!

Fr. Brian Moras sdb

►What is a college seminary?

►Do I have to know for sure that I am going to be a priest or a brother to go to the college seminary?

►How old do I have to be to go to the college seminary?

►What's the biggest difference between going to college and going to a college seminary?

►What advantages are there to being a college seminarian?

►What do I study at the college seminary?

►How smart do I have to be to be a college seminarian?

►How much does college seminary cost?

►What can I do if my parents think I should wait until I graduate from college or work a few years before I start studying for priesthood / brotherhood?

►What will my friends think?

►Can I date if I go to a college seminary?

►Can I play sports if I go the college seminary?


What is a college seminary?
A college seminary is a place where men of college age go to begin their preparation for priesthood or brotherhood. The college seminary prepares them intellectually by helping young candidates to finish the required junior college while attending conferences in preparation to enter the next level of religious formation, namely the pre-novitiate. There are two basic models of college seminaries. One is the affiliated model where students live together at the seminary and take their academic coursework in an outside college or university. The other is the free-standing model where all aspects of seminary life, including academics, are through the seminary. Typically free-standing seminaries are much smaller in size and offer more individual attention to the needs of the seminarian.

Do I have to know for sure that I am going to be a priest or a brother to go to the college seminary?
Yes. A basic desire must be there. In fact, certainty (as in 100%) of the call may never come. Doubts about one's vocation are common among seminarians at every stage. What is required is a sense that priesthood would be a good fit and a joyful life for you. You should also sense in your heart that God is asking you to take this step to consider more carefully the priesthood or brotherhood. Through the experiences of being a seminarian, one fairly early on gets the sense as to whether the seminary is the right place for him and whether priesthood or brotherhood is something he should be preparing for.

How old do I have to be to go to the college seminary?
One needs to simply have passed high school to enter a college seminary. Many young men enter right after school, while others will begin college seminary studies after a couple of years of working or going to another college or university. Generally the right age to respond is when the Lord calls!

What's the biggest difference between going to college and going to a college seminary?
Colleges and universities typically only focus on academics and the evaluation of college work is a report card and transcripts showing courses taken and grades achieved. The college seminary is concerned with several other areas of growth, including but also going beyond academics. The college seminary focuses on human formation (growth as a person, communication and relationship skills, leadership, etc.); spiritual formation (becoming a man of prayer; being a disciple of Jesus Christ; daily Mass and prayer; having a spiritual director, etc); and pastoral formation (service to the poor; helping at a parish; teaching religious education; visiting the sick, etc). A College seminary focuses on the growth of the total person, and evaluations of college seminary formation look at how well the man has grown each year as a person, as a follower of Christ, and as a man of the Gospel.

What advantages are there to being a college seminarian?
As mentioned, the greatest benefit to college seminary is being a part of a supportive environment where all aspects of human growth are encouraged. One's faith life tends to really flourish in the seminary because of the focus on meeting the Lord daily through the Mass and other prayers. Living in an environment where being Catholic is supported helps men make good moral choices for life as well. After completing college seminary the man is prepared to enter the pre-novitiate program. For those who don't go to the college seminary, there is usually a year of on hand experience that must be done before beginning the pre-novitiate program. So a man can save a year of formation by going to the college seminary.

What do I study at the college seminary?
This depends on the seminary one goes to. One basically finishes junior college in the course of his choice, be it Arts, Science or Commerce. Most seminarians receive the higher secondary school certificate on completion. The academic program is designed to meet the needs and interests of the seminarian.

How smart do I have to be to be a college seminarian?
Seminarians should have above average intelligence and above average grades. They don't need to be geniuses, but they have to be able to do well academically in college. Sometimes youngsters struggle with maths and science and do very well in English and history. That's okay, because some fields are more critical than others. Most seminaries have a very supportive learning environment that helps each student excel to their capacity.

How much does college seminary cost?
Tuition and room and board charges vary among seminaries. However, no one is denied the opportunity to prepare for priesthood or brotherhood because of financial reasons.

What can I do if my parents think I should wait until I graduate from college or work a few years before I start studying for priesthood / brotherhood?
Unfortunately there are some parents who think that 15 is too young an age to think about religious life and act on a possible call. That is a young age, but we believe that God does indeed genuinely call young people to serve Him. Many times the objections are more of an issue for the parents than for their son, i.e. a desire for grandchildren or to pass on the family name, or thinking their son can't be happy or won't be wealthy as a priest. Parents need to realize that by merely going to seminary a young man isn't limiting his options for the future, but is really expanding them by offering a host of opportunities other college students don't have. Those who decide not to continue on in seminary formation almost always leave with a greater sense of who they are and what they are called to do and are grateful for their experiences in the seminary. God never abandons those who step out in faith to respond to a call to religious life. It also might be helpful to ask whether parents would respond in the same way if their son wanted to be a doctor or lawyer. The basic point is that parents ought to support their sons to become who God wants them to be, independent of the parents' own hopes and plans for what they would like for their son. We find that the majority of parents are supportive of their sons' pursuit of religious life once they understand what seminary life is really about.

What will my friends think?

I don't know what your friends will think, because a lot depends on who your friends are! In most cases, though, once they learn what a college seminary is like, they will see it as a good choice for you. Those who have difficulty understanding why you might want to be a priest or brother are more likely questioning their own faith and ability to make commitments rather than saying anything about you.

Can I date if I go to a college seminary?
Seminarians are encouraged to build strong relationships with men and women, so social interaction with women is encouraged. Exclusive dating relationships are not permitted, because a man needs to discover whether the commitment to celibacy will be possible for him. You cannot fully and fairly discern religious life while in a dating relationship. College seminarians are encouraged to live the challenge of celibate love to see if it fits them. This includes: striving to use their energies to grow passionately in love with God and to feel His passionate love for them; to make efforts to be inclusive in their relationships seeking out those whom others keep at a distance; to stretch themselves in their commitments of service so that they feel themselves spending their lives tirelessly for the sake of the many; to speak fearlessly for the truth in defense of life and the vulnerable today; to live more simply in the world so as to witness more effectively to the Gospel of Jesus we profess; to be radically involved in people's lives as a means of God's forgiveness, mercy and compassion; and to see each person as brother and sister in the Lord. If such experiences draw a genuine sense of joy to their heart, then religious life will likely be a good fit for them.

Can I play sports if I go the college seminary?

Absolutely! Physical exercise and athletic competitions are important for all seminarians as well. Some seminaries are involved in campus athletic competitions - basketball, soccer, cricket and volleyball.


1. Relic of Don Bosco
2. Retreatainment
3. Nashik Camp
4. Jordan Camp
5. Campers and BYG Re-union
6. BYG Re-union
Altar Servers Rally


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