United States – Rector Major Meets with Young Adults in New Rochelle

24 November 2022

(ANS – New Rochelle) – Following a morning spent with the students of Salesian High School in New Rochelle and a tour of the offices of Salesian Missions, on November 23rd Fr. Ángel Fernandez met with about 30 young adults who are mostly graduates of Salesian high schools. He noted his satisfaction in many of his visits around the world at discovering how many alumni of the Salesian schools return to teach there; indeed, four of the young men taking part in this meeting are graduates of Salesian High School and now teach there.

Fr. Ángel asked each young adult where he or she is studying at present and what they are studying. After hearing the great variety of answers, he recalled a conversation with high school students in the morning and promoted the study of philosophy (in which one of the young adults said he’s majoring). He said that he’s happy this group has “clear dreams” for their future. They’ve lived the Salesian charism in their school days, which is a life experience they can’t learn in university.

In his worldwide travels, the Rector Major meets Salesian alumni everywhere. The young alumni are enthusiastic and creative about their future. Many of them have a priority of giving an opportunity to those coming up behind them. These young alumni have a special characteristic: they are the future of the Salesian charism. There are millions of Salesian alumni who carry our charism in their hearts, notably the Salesian family spirit, and they carry it into their own family lives. This extraordinary factor is the best result of a Salesian education.

Fr. Ángel told the young people never to give up spreading the Salesian values they learned in their Salesian schools. Then he posed a question to them: “What do you carry with you that you learned in your Salesian school?” He got answers like these:

            -- Education involves more than a classroom. It’s about making a family.

            -- I formed Christ-centered friendships.

            -- I learned to understand different kinds of people.

            -- I learned service to others.

            -- Young people are crucial to the Church.

            -- I was an only child. The Salesian Family became my brothers and sisters.

            -- Life is hard, and we desire stability. Salesian is a comfortable place that offers four pillars of balance.

            -- I got a well-rounded education with faith as my foundation.

            -- I’m not alone in life; I get family support from my Salesian friends.

            -- I learned Salesian joy and fun, which I bring to my work with little kids.

Fr. Ángel commented that in European Salesian schools the students experience affection from their teachers; they don’t find that kind of closeness in university. They treasure it. They’re also challenged to think deeply about life.

He continued, forecasting that the young people would have careers and satisfying lives. In university they’ll take exams and graduate. But there are basic issues that the university won’t examine: responsibility, kindness, humility, an ability to listen, what it means to be human. These are the most important things in life and indicate what kind of person one is. Life tests you in ways that the university won’t. However important what learns in university is, one’s happiness in life depends on these factors.

Fr. Ángel has found that some employers come to Salesian schools looking to hire the best persons, not the best technicians. Cultivating one’s humanity is the best opportunity. He urged the young people to develop their religious lives and to invest in their Salesian and human values.

Asked by one of the Salesians what advice he would give to these young people, Fr. Ángel urged that they pay attention to what’s really important, especially their relationships with others and the dispositions of their hearts. Being able to communicate is an indication of success. The great success of our Salesian schools is that our young people experience communication, presence, and freedom.

by Fr. Mike Mendl, SDB


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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