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(ANS – Turin) – The World Congress of the Past Pupils of Don Bosco celebrated its two last days with visits to the places of Don Bosco and Dominic Savio and with the address of the Rector Major. “The Past Pupil of Don Bosco and the commitment in today’s society and Church” was the title of the address of Fr. Chavez, in which he highlighted the identity and the mission of those who have received a Salesian education. During the Congress the strategic plan of the Association of Past Pupils of Don Bosco was relaunched.
Saturday April 28: More than 280 Congress members moved from Valdocco to Colle Don Bosco to visit some of the most significant places in the history of Salesian spirituality. First was the house where Dominic Savio was born, in Castelnuovo D’Asti, April 2 1842. The Mayor,Mr. Lodovico Giglio, welcomed the party, explaining the significance of the house for the town of Castelnuovo. At present the birthplace is entrusted to the Salesian Cooperators and the Past Pupils, who have turned it into a spirituality centre.
Next came Mondonio where the young saint died on March9. 1857, and where he was first buried. In the afternoon the Congress members went to Colle Don Bosco where they visited the house of the Becchi, the Missionary Museum the Bernardi Institute and the Basilica.
The Rector Major presided at Holy Mass, concelebrated by about 20 Salesian Delegates of the Past Pupils of Don Bosco, coming from all over the Salesian world. Before the final blessing, Fr. Chavex presented a lighted lamp to the federations and confderations present, 22 in all, a symbol of the place where the story and charism of the Salesians and of the Salesian family was born. He evening ended with the traditional Good Night thought, given by Fr. Stefano Martoglio, Superior of the Province of Piedmont and Valle d’Aosta.
The last day of the Congress, Sunday April 29, turned around two significant moments: the address of the Rector Majaor on the theme “The Past pupil of Don Bosco and the commitment in today’s society and the Church” and the final celebration of Mass in the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians.
The address of the Rector Major focused on the identity and the mission of the Past Pupils of Don Bosco today, presenting the great challenges at the social, political, economic and ecclesial levels. “Real past Pupils are those who have succeeded in being the honest citizens and good Christians as Don Bosco wanted it” Those who grow up with the support of a Salesian education have before them 4 levels of belonging to the association and of responsibility, and these levels help to define different levels of identity.
* Those for whom having been students or having attended a Salesian setting is a fact of life, a simple anecdote which has not particularly touched their lives.
* A grace to have been touched by the appeal of Don Bosco, profoundly man and profoundly saint, so that everywhere one feels as a past student of Don Bosco.
* a mission: to feel responsible to communicate to society the richness of the education received and desiring that others may want to take advantage of the grace of a Salesian education.
* A plan of life, leading to the need to aggregate in association with a sense of institution, to promote growth, continued education and implement projects for the benefit of society and the Church.
Dwelling on the mission of the Past Pupil of Don Bosco, Fr. Chavez exhorted those present to be salt and light of the earth, developing professionalism and witness of life on the personal, social and ecclesial levels.
“You are responsible for bringing into society the Christian and Salesian educative values.`The Past Pupil is particularly prepared, precisely by the education received, to assume as responsibility of collaboration according to the true purpose of the Salesian project” said the Rector Major,, quoting Don Bosco. We know how much Don Bosco loved his pupils, but he said to the past pupils “I love you even more because you show me that your heart is always for Don Bosco .....you will be the light that shines in the midst of the world and by your example you will teach the others how they should do good and detest and avoid evil. I am certain you will continue to be the consolation of Don Bosco.”
The complete text of the Rector Major’s address is available on the website sdb.org