The people of Brunswick love Don Bosco!

Young people and parents living in Brunswick and surrounding suburbs find Don Bosco Youth Centre a welcoming place, a home away from home, an environment where they feel comfortable, safe and loved.

The Youth Centre offers a variety of services and activities to youth groups and family groups, creating a supportive and inclusive atmosphere that encourages young people to attain their full potential; promotes positive self-esteem and encourages them to help others. We have seen multicultural friendship blossom between young people, and parents, as well as lay people and volunteers, and we have witnessed this for many years. It is great to see this bond growing stronger between young people.

Father Jan Walenciej is the new Director of Don Bosco Youth Centre. He took over from the previous Director, Father Peter Kerin, who provided many years of service to the youth of the local community. Father Jan was the Director of Don Bosco Youth Centre in St Marys, Sydney, for eleven years, including six years as Rector before he moved to Brunswick in 2023. He has been presenting fresh perspectives and initiatives for the ongoing mission of the Youth Centre and planning new activities for the young people. Brother Afia Enosa, who is a practical trainee, arrived from Fiji, where he spent five years in formation, and he is now assisting Father Jan in the Youth Centre. 

The Rector-Major was very impressed with the Brunswick community during his recent visit!

Don Bosco Brunswick is an extremely multicultural community. Young people come for recreation after school on weekdays and for weekend sessions in the mornings and afternoons. The Centre provides pool tables, air-hockey tables, soccer tables, trampolines, gymnastic springboards and an outdoor multipurpose sports court. Many parents who accompany their sons and daughters to the Youth Centre share stories and great memories of the Centre when they used to come with their own parents. Now, they are bringing their children back to the place that gave them a sense of belonging and safety.

We have been blessed with the presence of many local volunteers who are keen to offer their time and energy to support the Youth Centre. They are offered in turn to supervise and to ensure the safety of young people during sessions. With the support of Father Phillip Gleeson (Rector) and the regular presence of the members of our Salesian community, the spirit in the Centre is greatly enhanced as they mingle with the youngsters or meet their parents or some of the past pupils of the Youth Centre and entertain them in lively conversations. 

During the Easter celebrations, the hymn “Sing Alleluia, the Lord is Risen…” was chanted with enthusiasm and fervour by many faithful parishioners of St Margaret Mary parish as they came together to celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, a celebration of joy and renewal. The church was packed with local parishioners, relatives and family members.  

In the preceding week, Fr Phillip Gleeson (Rector), Fr Jan Walenciej, Fr Anthony Nguyen and Fr John Kick took it in turn to lead the parish community to the celebrations of the powerful liturgy of Holy Week. Recalling the Holy Thursday celebration, one parishioner, who was deeply impressed by the ceremony of the washing of the feet, commented: “It is a symbolic gesture by Jesus that will never get old, and reminds us of the need of being always humble and to be of service to others”.

The Vietnamese group, made up of adults and children, presented the Stations of the Cross in a very reflective and solemn way, enabling the wider community to enter into the spirit of Holy Week more deeply. All the liturgical celebrations were enlivened by the two parish choirs – the Vietnamese and the English choirs - and numerous parishioners were actively engaged in the liturgical readings and other responsible services.


This story originally appeared in the Winter 2023 edition of the Salesian Bulletin, available now!