Apostolicam Actuositatem – Decree on the Apostolate of the
On 18 November 1965, the Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity was published. In this
document those who participated in the Second Vatican Council outlined the role of the lay
apostolate in the mission of the Church. One particular area identified was that of Charitable
Works and Social Aid:
Wherever people are to be found who are in want of food and drink, of clothing, housing,
medicine, work, education, the means necessary for leading a truly human life, wherever there are
people racked by misfortune or illness, people suffering exile or imprisonment, Christian charity
should go in search of them and find them out, comfort them with devoted care and give them
the helps that will relieve their needs. (Ch 2, paragraph 8)
From the beginning, and inspired by his mother ‘Mama Margaret’ who sold her home and all
her earthly possessions to spend the last ten years of her life in devoted service to the little
inhabitants of the first Salesian home, Don Bosco encouraged lay people to participate in his
mission and apostolate.
Today lay people can participate in the work of the Salesians by volunteering to work with:
a) Don Bosco House. A home founded in
by the Salesians to provide Dublin
residential care and support for young people who are unable to live with their
b) Savio Volunteers, which provides opportunities for adults to participate in the
Salesian mission of ‘educating the young’ by sharing their talents with the young
and the poor in Salesian communities worldwide.
For You To Do:
1. Log on to the Salesians of Don Bosco Irish Website at www.salesiansireland.ie and read the
stories of the volunteers.
2. Download an application form to join either the lay volunteer programme at Don Bosco
House or Savio and see for yourself what is needed to participate in this aspect of the
apostolate of lay people.
3. Discuss why you would or would not like to be involved in these programmes.