(ANS – Rome) – Strenna 2013 is, as already announced for the preparation process for the Bicentenary of Don Bosco's birth, an invitation to get to know him by seeing him as the educator. “Like Don Bosco the educator, we offer young people the Gospel of joy through a pedagogy of kindness”. It is an opportunity to deepen our understanding of and update the Preventive System.
This year too, the Rector Major's first official act in opening the General Council's summer plenary session was to present the topic for Strenna 2013. Fr Pascual Chávez explained its content, his choice of area and the angle he was taking by recalling a twofold need: “A deeper study of Salesian pedagogy is certainly necessary, on the one hand, so it can be updated according to the sensitivity and demands of our time” and on the other hand “to make the content and approach of what he offered in educative and pastoral terms our own”.
It is a rediscovery, then, of the Preventive System that takes into account an historical understanding of Don Bosco's approach and the insights which were already present in his experience of the Oratory at the Pinardi house, “that would afterwards acquire a deeper value as part of a complex human and Christian synthesis”.
“Once we have a correct understanding of the past, we need to translate the Preventive System's major insights and virtues for today… to the advantage of the formation of the 'new' youth of the 21st Century called to experience and deal with a vast, totally new range of circumstances and problems in times which have changed decisively, and which the human sciences themselves are now critically reflecting upon”.
He offeres three particular slants, developed briefly, which will help set a process of modernisation in place:
The Rector Major's presentation is already a good tool for reflection and work on the part of the educative and pastoral community and the various Salesian Family commissions or coordinating bodies. The text in fact suggests some evaluation processes which cover both attitudes and planning possibilities. And this year too, as for other years, the text adds an early indication of what will probably be the major reference points for concrete tasks stemming from Strenna 2013.
As he did last year, Fr Chávez offers the Salesian Family a bibliography as a set of references: The Preventive system in the Education of Youth, the Letter from Rome, and the Lives of Dominic Savio, Michael Magone, Francis Besucco, “all written by Don Bosco and which well illustrate both his educational experience and his pedagogical options”.
The complete text of the Presentation of Strenna 2013 is available on sdb.org