GC28, the second week of work: friendship and mutual listening
(Turin, March 1, 2020) - Archbishop Cesare Nosiglia of Turin, in the homily he addressed to Chapter members on Saturday 29 February, said: "In the community, simple words are needed, together with concrete life experiences and, above all, a lot of friendship and mutual listening: this manages to arrive directly to people's hearts, more than anything else." Friendship and mutual listening are part of the air one breathes in these first days of capitular commitment.
"There is a concentrated, intense atmosphere, a constructive will, a lot of understanding for the travel and some necessary discomfort, but the feedback from this first half is absolutely positive. The discussion on the Rector Major's report and his responses was perfect and exemplary," said Fr Saimi Ezhanikatt, Chapter Secretary and deus ex machina of the whole organization.
On Monday, 24 February, the language translation test trials and a test on the votes were carried out. 222 voters contributed to fine-tuning the system.
This was followed by the appointment of the Secretaries, proposed by the Regulator and voted by the assembly. Fr Enrico Gaetan, Fr Luca Barone and Fr Daniele Merlini were elected.
It was then the turn of the Moderators. The following were elected: Fr Manuel Cayo, Provincial of Peru (PER), Fr Jose Kuruvachira, Provincial of India-Dimapur (IND) and Fr Manuel Jimenez Castro, Visitor of Africa Congo Congo (ACC).
The capitulars then immersed themselves in the individual reading of the Regulations and then divided into the four commissions on the subject and the one on the juridical subjects.
Next day, 25 February, Fr Andrea Bozzolo, SDB, professor of Dogmatic Theology at the Turin Section of the Faculty of Theology of the Salesian Pontifical University, presented the Working Tool of the 28th General Chapter (GC28) to the capitulars gathered in the Teatro Grande of Valdocco. With this beautiful image: "The fire and the canoe".
The fire of the Spirit of God marks and illuminates the course that the Chapter canoe must follow. Embarked on it, the Salesians must stay the course together with the young people who row vigorously, all facing the same goal that is the objective of the Chapter, made up of three groups: the priority of the mission for young people, with all the challenges it implies, the profile of the Salesian, and the co-responsibility with the laity.
The Chapter - it has been remembered - is not a "parliament", but knowing how to recognize God in the voice of one's brothers.
Hence the successive stages that will lead to choices, through the triple sieve: recognize-interpret-choose.
There is a tangible good and positive focus and everyone's commitment is clearly visible.
An organization that is functioning with admirable efficiency. The teamwork is highly coordinated: from behind the scenes, where the operators of the digital network that supports all forms of communication are stationed full-time, as are the translators, hospitality workers and liturgical moments; but what matters most is the collaborative attitude of the Chapter members.
The basic media coverage is also excellent, aiming to create communion between the participants of the GC28 in Turin-Valdocco and each local "Valdocco" in the outskirts of the Congregation. In this case, digital media have the ability to put the center on the same level as the communities and works of the periphery.
"The commissions and subcommittees were created in very little time and immediately went to work," continued Fr Saimi.
The commissions are formed by language areas and subdivided in turn into subcommittees to foster the maximum possible dialogue. The only slightly different commission is the one that deals with legal issues, some of which are urgent and not easy to resolve.
Naturally, there is much anticipation for the week of March 16-21, the election week, which can mean a lot to understand the orientation of the Congregation.
In all there is that will "lit" by Pope Francis and that the Archbishop summarizes thus: "The Church cannot be satisfied with waiting for the young to return, but must seek them and meet them where they are, opening the doors, going out into the open sea, challenging the cultural and environmental storm, mass media and digital ... in short, the new world where young people swim like fish in water."
The frequent moments of prayer in the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians, "place of the heart" of Don Bosco and of all the Salesians, are sipped at the source of that spirituality that originated here.
Italy – Livia, past pupil and nurse: "In moments of dejection, I hear my teachers again and what they transmitted to me"
(ANS - Turin) - Livia Borello is a young mother and a nurse at the forefront of the fight against coronavirus, a past pupil of the Salesian Classics Lyceum "Valsalice" in Turin. Family, work and education are three dimensions intertwined in her life, which she talks about in the following interview.
Amidst fear and hope
It is noon. We are in Rome in the Salesian house of the "Sacred Heart", located in front of Termini Station, Italy's most important railway station. Half a million people normally pass by here every day, but today there are only about twenty people moving about, their faces covered in masks.
RMG – March 24, 2020: Act of Entrustment of Salesian Family to Mary Help of Christians
(ANS - Rome) - At the end of the extraordinary novena to Mary Help of Christians, prayed throughout the Salesian world, the Rector Major, Fr Ángel Fernández Artime, invites us to make an Act of Entrustment, renewing our trust in Our Lady, with the heart of Don Bosco, in this hour of trial and suffering due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Brazil – How Don Bosco "fished"for his young people
(ANS - São Paulo) - Don Bosco's vocational journey, as in all vocational paths, was not all easy, carefree or to be taken for granted. Doubts and difficulties were present in his maturation and decision-making process. Don Bosco also had doubts. He dreamed of becoming a Franciscan. He persistently wondered what his mission would be, where he should carry out his pastoral task. His life was marked by indecisions and uncertainty, but in the midst of his life he knew that there was a "medicine" that God sent him: it was Father Cafasso, his spiritual director.