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St. John Bosco: Patron of Youth Ministry
This year marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of St. John Bosco. This great saint’s insights into forming young people remain vitally important and relevant today. In 1988, St. John Paul II wrote a letter to the head of the Salesian Order to commemorate the centenary of the death of St. John Bosco. It was titled, Iuvenum Patris, or “Father of Youth.” Only the Italian version is available on the Vatican website—perhaps that is why few English speaking people have heard of it.  It is a beautiful document that looks at the educational spirituality of St. John Bosco. Iuvenum Patris was written by a saint who loved young people about a saint who loved young people. St. John Paul II’s insights are as practical as they are inspiring. St. John Bosco employed a method, which has since become famous, for passing on the faith to his boys: “Reason, religion, and loving kindness.” Those who minister to youth today can still learn from this pedagogy.