From the presentation of the Councilor for the Africa-Madagascar Region, Fr Américo Chaquisse, what emerged as priority areas of intervention was the attention to Salesian formation and the need for creative fidelity in Youth Ministry, a zealous missionary spirit, commitment to co-responsibility with both laity and in the field of Social Communication.
"Redesigning requires a process," underlined Fr Francesco Cereda, Vicar of the Rector Major. Towards this process, he offered priority guidelines for research on the quality and numerical consistency of the communities, the increased qualification of Salesians, and greater formation among formation teams in the initial formation communities.
The speech by Fr Guillermo Basañes, General Councilor for Missions, was also rich and varied. First of all, he illustrated how the concept of mission implied two complementary movements: the sending and the reception of missionaries. He, therefore, warned against the temptation that a Province consider itself "self-sufficient", hence not in need of missionaries; he asked, instead, that they cherish the memory of the missionary pioneers and share it with younger generations. He also examined how the assimilation of the Apostolic Exhortation Africae Munus is proceeding in the Salesian African world, highlighting how during the 2012 Visit to the Assembly three great tasks emerged: reconciliation and personal conversion, reconciled communities capable of reconciling others, service to young people through education.
In order to give an immediate follow-up to the General Council members' words, in the afternoon the Provincials and the Councilors of the 13 Salesian districts of the Africa-Madagascar region produced, through inter-provincial groups, indications on how to proceed with the redesign of the presences and the current missionary challenges.
The final intervention of the Rector Major summed up the whole day. To the Salesians of Africa, he indicated several issues that needed to be addressed and developed. Above all, he pointed out that vision, foresight and courage were essential for redesigning presences in Africa. The focus, he concluded, must always be to maintain a predilection for the neediest young people.