Portugal – "Group together to grow together": Formation and Pastoral Planning
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27 June 2019

(ANS - Lisbon) - Today it is no longer possible to design and plan without having a team at the foundations and there is no initiative that can continue over time without a group that thinks and plans for the future. Planning and development require paths or journeys that "take into account current languages and are connected with the condition of the young," states the Salesian Youth Ministry Reference Framework. From 24 to 26 June 2019, in Lisbon, a group of Salesians and lay people gathered for a fundamental task: planning and development. Fr Rossano Sala, SDB, Special Secretary of the Synod of Bishops of 2018, illuminated the process with a document with a meaningful title: "Make a team to grow together. For a Salesian reception of the synodal path."

The meeting took place in the Don Bosco House at the headquarters of the Portuguese Province, in Lisbon, and was promoted by the Provincial Youth Ministry Delegation.

In his speech, Fr Sala stressed the importance of the documents of this synodal journey, from the Instrumentum Laboris to the Final Document of the Synod and on to the post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation Christus vivit. "Of my personal experience at the Synod, a lot could be said," he explained. "I started working with this responsibility and I accompanied the entire synod process. It was a great gift for me, as well as a commitment, and I tried to contribute to the whole process with the richness of the Salesian charism and spirituality."

Fr Sala then shared the experience of universality, communion and service lived at the Synod with the approximately 50 educational and pastoral workers present in Lisbon. He promoted reflection and work during each of the two days of formation. The first theme was "Entering the synodal path", and there he stressed the importance of creating processes in a common journey. Then, always drawing from the rich background of experience gained at the Synod, he reflected on "Living in the youthful condition" and "Learning the art of discernment".

"At the end of these days," Fr Sala underscored, "I would like to ask the Lord for three great gifts, which become three tasks to be accomplished, because every gift is always something that commits us to development. The gifts are always talents to invest and seeds to bear fruit, never treasures to preserve and hide. And these gifts are: Listening, Announcing, Accompanying."

At the end of the formation days the Pastoral Project 2019/2020 was presented for the Salesian centers in Portugal and Cape Verde; its title: "You are mission. I am with you."

"During these days," wrote Fr Álvaro Lago, Delegate for Youth Ministry, "we listened to how young people ask us to be a Church that walks with them and a Salesian Province that is a sign of renewal."

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