|Portugal – SC Delegates at work|
|Italy – Communication and Project for Europe: a strategic double|
(ANS – Lisbon) – The second meeting of correspondents for the Project for Europe held in Lisbon between 4 and 6 May was an opportunity to carry out a short but careful examination of how the Salesian Congregation is engaged in giving a new impetus to the charism in the Old Continent. Nineteen Provinces were represented and a variety of perceptions, approaches and initiatives in evidence.
The work involved firstly reports from the various representatives on what was happening in the Provinces and secondly the examination of the subject “Consecrated life in Europe: a commitment to gospel-style prophecy”.
Compared with the situation which emerged at their first meeting held in Genzano di Roma in May 2011, it would appear that in some Provinces the understanding of and commitment to the Project for Europe has increased. Reports they had given to Provincial Councils, at meetings of Rectors and other meetings had led to better knowledge of the Project In some countries the Salesian Bulletins had published a series of articles or a special section to contribute to this awareness in the Provinces at various levels .
The situation with a variety of cultures and traditions among the Salesians, the current economic crisis, the secularist mood and globalisation are having a negative effect on the prospects of the younger generations. Fr Filiberto Gonzalez, Councillor for Social, Communications who chaired the meeting insisted that the first commitment of the Salesian Congregation in Europè was to educating and evangelising the young accepting the sufferings caused by the cut backs and changes which the historical, cultural and not least vocational conditions bring with them .
The second theme was introduced by a report given by Father José Rodríguez Carballo, Minister General OFM at the Second General Assembly of Superiors General in November 2010. “Consecrated life in Europe a commitment to a gospel-syle prophecy”. Then the representatives analysed and discussed it and offered some suggestions in reference to the specific challenges for the Salesian charism. They considered that it was important to remember that evangelisation is the first vocation of the Project for Europe.
Other challenges Salesians were being called to face were the passion for Christ, working as a community, the ability to make a real contribution to the social and cultural debates in current issues. Special attention needed to be given to the valuable contribution elderly religious can make to community life and to the pastoral mission..
In this regard it is important to focus on formation especially initial formation and on a profound “sequela Christi”, which gives authenticity and quality to the witness of the Salesian religious. Another point was the acquisition of foreign languages to facilitate the mobility of Salesians for the various European Projects needing to be implemented.