Italy - International Congress of Salesian Works and Social Services kicks off on Wednesday, Sept. 28

26 September 2022

(ANS - Turin) - From Sept. 28 to Oct. 2, the International Congress of Salesian Works and Social Services (OSSS) will be held in Turin-Valdocco, an important moment of reflection and sharing of experiences in this field, whose goal is to strengthen the charismatic identity of pastoral action in this field. The event, coordinated by the Salesian Youth Ministry Sector, is expected to be attended by a delegation from each of the 91 Salesian circumscriptions scattered in 134 countries around the world, composed of people working in their social works and services, for a total of about 300 participants, lay and consecrated.

"Don Bosco saw clearly the social implications of his work. We labour in economically depressed areas and for poor young people. We collaborate with them, educating them to a sense of moral, professional, and social responsibility. In this way, we contribute to the development of both people and the environment. We share in a way appropriate to the religious and commitment of the Church to justice and peace. While not getting involved in ideology or party politics, we reject everything that promotes deprivation, injustice, and violence. We cooperate with all who are trying to build a society more worthy of man. The advancement to which we dedicate ourselves in the spirit of the Gospel makes tangible the love of Christ which makes man free and is a sign that the Kingdom of God is among us," state the Constitutions of the Salesians of Don Bosco (Art. 33).

"The world exists for everyone, because all of us were born with the same dignity. Differences of colour, religion, talent, place of birth or residence, and so many others, cannot be used to justify the privileges of some over the rights of all. As a community, we have an obligation to ensure that every person lives with dignity and has sufficient opportunities for his or her integral development," writes Pope Francis in Encyclical Fratelli Tutti (No. 118).

In line with this spirit and purpose, the participants of the OSSS Congress will experience four days of discussion and sharing, animated by several authoritative speakers, among whom we highlight: Salesian Cardinal Óscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga, Metropolitan Archbishop of Tegucigalpa and Coordinator of the Council of Cardinals; Fr. Ángel Fernández Artime, Rector Major of the Salesians; Fr. Miguel Ángel García, SDB Counselor for Youth Ministry; Br. Jean Paul Muller SDB, Economer General of the Salesian Congregation; Fr. Michal Vojtas, Vice-Rector of UPS; and Fr. Rafael Bejarano SDB, Social Works liaison in the Youth Ministry Department and coordinator of the Congress.

Operationally, participants will be welcomed at Valdocco as early as next Wednesday, Sept. 28, so that activities can fully begin from Thursday morning. During the first three days, the scheme of work will be the same: it will start each morning with a Lectio Divina, on the Gospel passage narrating the episode of the resurrection of the son of the widow of Nain (Luke 7:11-17), by Javier Carabaño Rodriguez, a specialist in communication and identity and linked to the Salesian environment, and Fr. Bejarano.

Following this, the central lecture of the day will be offered:

- Thursday, Sept. 29, Cardinal Rodríguez Maradiaga will present the topic, "The Social Approach of the Church."

- Friday, Sept. 30, Fr. Vojtas will address the topic, "The evolutions of the educational dimension and Salesian pedagogy."

- On Saturday, Oct. 1, Dr. Carlos Ballesteros, Director of the Social Impact Chair at the Pontifical University of Comillas, in Madrid, will speak on "The Footprint We Leave. Challenges and opportunities for measuring the impact we generate."

After the lectures and time for a question-and-answer session, Rector Major, Fr. Á.F. Artime will moderate a forum with young people, which will delve into the role of Salesian Past Pupils in social works.

The three mornings will be completed with the possibility for those present to take part in a wide variety of mini-courses inherent to Salesian work with the young people most in need; while the afternoon activities will be dedicated to the exposition of good practices carried out in every part of the world, the celebration of the Eucharist and times of fraternity, the deepening of other peculiar themes and work by regions or by continents.

A final session on the mini-courses and the last stage of the youth forum with the Rector Major are scheduled for Sunday, October 2, before the final conclusions, by Fr. García Morcuende, and the concluding Mass, which will be presided over by Fr. Á.F. Artime.

During the course of the event, there will also be an opportunity for everyone to visit the "Don Bosco House Museum" in Valdocco.


ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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