First Issue of the Bollettino Salesiano

The Salesian Bulletin (Bollettino Salesiano – in Italian, the original language) is a publication invented and created by Don Bosco. In 1949, the first issue of the Salesian Bulletin was published in Maltese, titled ‘Dun Bosco f’ Malta’ (Don Bosco in Malta). Today the title of this publication is Il-Hajja Salesjana (The Salesian Life). The Bulletin started in August 1877, and Don Bosco himself prepared the first issue. Even when he entrusted others, Don Bosco always reviewed the setting and content personally.

The Salesian Bulletin, spreads knowledge of Salesian spirit and activity, especially in its missionary and educational aspects.
It is concerned with the problems of youth, encourages collaboration and tries to foster vocations.
It is as well an instrument for formation and a bond of union between the different branches of the Salesian Family.
It is edited in accordance with the directives of the Rector Major and his council in various editions and languages.
– (General Regulations of the Society of St Francis de Sales, n.41).

According to Don Bosco’s idea the Bulletin was to remain the general organ of the Salesian work, and not a particular publication for each country. Indeed, on the 10th of August 1877, Don Bosco said to Don Barberis, “The end of the Bulletin is to make our work known as much as possible, and to make it known in its real meaning. It will help us to obtain aid, obtaining the good will of people for our institutions. The periodical will be the principle support of all our undertakings; if it should fall, they also would fall. As many readers as possible should be sought for it. It should be spread free, in every possible way.”

After so many years, this publication still possesses an amazing vitality, and is published in many languages, across six continents, Africa, North and South AmericaAsiaEurope, and Oceania. All the merit goes to its inventor, who had a stunning and acute vision of the future.

To study the relationship between Don Bosco and mass communication, and the insight and foresight he had, one should not see the Salesian Bulletin in isolation. In fact, it is necessary to understand other entities he founded and his personal characteristics, and how he was seen during his time, that is: the clergyman who is apparently moderate, and then an acrobat and a magician, the priest who organizes young people by making them “cackle at will”, the priest who founded schools and publications and organizes shows. And finally, his masterpiece of communication: the reinvention of the Oratory, according to industrial city standards. This is an integrated system of school and work, leisure and religion. Umberto Eco described the Oratory as:

“A perfect machine wherein every internal communication channel, between games, music, theatre and the press, is managed on its own on a minimal basis, and reused and discussed when the communication comes from outside.”