|RMG – Salesian Presence among the Muslims: a new Road Map|
|RMG – Study Days on Salesian presence among Muslims|
(ANS – Rome) – This morning the Study Days on Salesian Presence among the Muslims got under way. After reading a message from Mother Yvonne Reungoat, Superior General of the FMA, Fr Václav Klement, Councillor for the Missions, gave a brief outline of the situation and of the process that had led up to the Study Days.
In her message Mother Yvonne Reungoat expressed her appreciation and support for the Study Days and recalled how Don Bosco and Mother Mazzarello “our founders handed on to us a charism open to wide horizons, clear in its own identity, ready for dialogue to the extent that it was for the benefit of the young in need.”
Statistics from the “PEW Institute” indicate that in 2010 in the world there were 1.6 thousand million Muslims, with an annual increase of 1.5%. It is anticipated that by 2030 60% of Muslims will be living in the Asia-Pacific region and that Pakistan will become the country with the largest number of Muslims overtaking Indonesia the present leaders.
Already when the first successor of Don Bosco Blessed Michael Rua was Rector Major, Salesian were to be found in Muslim contexts. Looking at a Salesian map of the world it is clear that about 30 Provinces are in daily contact with young Muslims; in addition, in European Provinces this situation is increasing. Fr Klement also pointed out that “there are hundreds of Salesians born in countries with a Muslim majority, who grew up within Christian communities which had the opportunity be in a dialogue of life with Muslim brothers and sisters and with the different Muslim cultures.”
The Study Days on Salesian Presence among the Muslims– taking place in these days at the Generalate in Rome organised by the Missions Departments of the SDB and FMA – have been preceded by other meetings. “Probably the first meeting at Congregation level to reflect on the issue was held in Cairo (Egypt, December 1988- January 1989)”, the Councillor for the Missions said. The second was held in Rome between 25 February and 2 March 2001. There was also a valuable contribution in the survey into 'Salesian commitment in the Islamic world organised by the previous Councillor for the Missions, Fr Francis Alencherry. There was also a Seminar organised by the French-speaking West Africa Province at Bamako, in Mali between 11 and 14 October 2010 with representatives from 13 Africa sub-saharian countries; and some Provinces have offered a reflection on our educative-pastoral praxis with young Muslims.
But as Fr Klement pointed out, “In the whole Congregation unfortunately we have few confreres with a good academic and practical preparation.”
The 2012 Days have had a long preparation. Following the 26th General Chapter (2008), which encouraged a careful reflection on the Salesian presence in Islamic contexts, at the first meeting of the World Consultative Committee for the Missions (September 2008) Fr. Vittorio Pozzo (former Provincial of MOR) was given the task of undertaking a preparatory study. In the last three years Fr Pozzo has shared some of his studies: Re-examination of the process of Salesian reflection 1988-2008 (2009): Islam and Youth Culture; 2010: Re-examination of the Seminar at Bamako (2011).
The text of Fr Klement’s talk is available in the Missions section of sdb.org.