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(ANS – Rome) – In the context of Project for Europe, in this month of July the analysis of the youth situation in the Old Continent focuses on Ireland: a country with a strong Catholic tradition but at present experiencing great changes.
This year the Salesians, who have been in Ireland since the second decade of the 1900s, are celebrating the 40th anniversary of the setting up of the Province. It is a period of time during which – as with a wealth of details the Service item by Fr Patrick Hennessy, Vice Provincial makes clear – the social scene of Ireland has changed radically and with it the relationship of the people, and in particular young people, with the Faith, the Church and religious institutions.
If such changes as often happens, produce an initial sense of loss, it is certainly the best time for a return to living the gospel message in a radical manner.
The Salesian charism through its preferential option for the more disadvantaged young people has in the past given a credible witness. One proof of this is the gratitude being expressed these days to the Irish Salesians by Mark O’Callaghan, a successful business man and the subject of one of today’s news items.
What the Salesians need today as Fr Hennessy says, are only “a few re-adaptations and re-expressions” which will make them fully understood in the way today’s young people are thinking and by future generations.