With the objective of promoting the network's communication processes, the Provincial Delegates for Youth Ministry (YM) and those for Social Communication met, together with those responsible for communication of the Salesian social works. To offer their inspiring words were Fr Miguel Ángel García, YM General Councilor, flanked by Fr Rafael Bejarano, SDB, contact person for social works in the YM Department; and Fr Gildásio Mendes dos Santos, General Councilor for Social Communication, assisted by Zaida Navarrete, Referent for Salesian Social Communication in America.
“We are living in a time of cultural and media change; we cannot just transmit information, put information on the internet or be 'connected' (...) It is necessary to give priority to three elements: Salesian identity, creativity and quality of information,” Fr Mendes dos Santos underlined in his speech, who also called to bear witness of Salesian, collaborative and supportive work. Fr García stressed that a great advantage of the generation of networks, the online generation, is that, understanding the complexity of the Salesian Regions and Provinces, “they are giving us a new way of exchanging information and communicating among ourselves.”
After the interventions of the two General Councilors, Fr Bejarano led the reflection on the importance of organicity and synodality, explaining that these spaces of participation to which the Delegates are called have the purpose of joining forces to achieve common objectives and are important to make everyone aware of the Salesian mission. Furthermore, he stressed that “the Salesian Social America Network, formerly known as the 'Preferential Option', has been making history for more than 21 years, generating interregional and inter-provincial work that strengthens the capacities of our Provinces.”
In presenting the operational communication plan of the RASS, those present developed three main ideas: to make the work of social works visible, to raise awareness of the reality of children and young people at risk, and to have a social and political impact to generate structural changes. On this basis, four objectives and a series of activities were identified.
Through group work, the representatives of the 16 Provinces projected their aspirations by answering the question: “What impact would you like us to have as a network of social works, and how can communication facilitate the achievement of these goals?” The answers mainly expressed the importance of generating strategic alliances and providing clear messages, which show the actual impact achieved and strengthen the work of social works.
Finally, a series of agreements were reached to promote communication processes between social works and contribute to the awareness of society on the subject, to evangelize and reduce social inequalities.