It is time for Student Spotlight again!
Our March edition features Antoine Galea, a fifth-year medical student. When Antoine entered Savio college, he fell in love with the charism and mission of Don Bosco, to the extent that some months after his school-leaving in 2011, he started volunteering and helping out with the Salesians of Don Bosco as a Salesian Animator.
Look at what Antoine had to tell us:
Who, and what, are the Salesian Animators?
Don Bosco; the founder of the Congregation of St Francis of Sales, also known as the Salesians of Don Bosco, lived a pastoral experience in his first Oratory in Valdocco, Turin, which serves as a model for any Salesian presence. Therefore, the Salesian Family strives to provide the youngsters with a home that welcomes, a parish that evangelises, a school that prepares them for life, and a playground where friends can meet and enjoy themselves.
The Salesian Animators are youth (over 16s) who are involved in working with the Salesians in various pastoral realities. We offer a formation programme throughout the year that enables the young person to get to know oneself better, and use the discovered potential for one’s growth and that of others. The formation programme for our young Salesian animators consists of monthly Lectio Divina’s, retreats, and formation weekends on Leadership, Creativity and Salesianity. The formation aspect goes hand in hand with the outreach and voluntary work: the Salesian Animators’ projects, based at Savio College, include Ħbieb Domenico Savio, GOSPA, the infamous Boscofest, the August Fun Day and the annual Salesian Summer Camps.
Do you have any cherished moments?
Looking back at the past 7 years as a Salesian Animator myself, three special moments come to mind:
Firstly, in 2012, together with my friends, I was given the responsibility to plan and organize the Summer Camps as part of the core-team. This was my first experience in the role of co-ordinator.
Secondly, in 2015, the remains of Don Bosco visited the Maltese Islands. It was an unforgettable experience for all those who form part of the Salesian Family.
Finally, in 2016, together with a group of Salesian Animators, I participated in the World Youth Day held in Krakow, Poland. This was my first World Youth Day, and I am quite certain that it wasn’t the last!
How do you manage to balance your volunteering with your academic commitments?
As fellow medical students, you can understand that balance is not a simple thing to achieve, considering the vast amount of books, topics, modules and notes which one must cover. I have to admit that at times it seemed impossible to continue doing voluntary work; there were times were the easiest way out, and the most appealing, was to quit and focus only on studying. However three things helped me navigate my way through five years of Medicine and Surgery, and hopefully, through my Foundation Programme as well in a few months’ time:
- The support of family, friends and most importantly the Salesians of Don Bosco; not only through prayer and well-wishing, but concrete ever-present support
- A great sense of ownership and ‘feeling at home’; why would I give up on something which animates me, and gives me so much happiness and fulfilment?
- Discipline, commitment and time-management: appreciating each and every moment, by trying to make the most out of it!
Thank you Antoine for being our March entry of our Student Spotlight initiative! We admire the Salesian community for their altruism and commitment towards their youths.
Do you know of an MMSA member whose work deserves to be recognised? Then nominate him/her by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org!