RMG – Recovering “apostolic interiority” through “grace of unity”. Fr Viganò's text explained by Fr Sala

04 November 2020

(ANS - Rome) – Published in recent days is the text by Fr Egidio Viganò, VII Successor of Don Bosco at the head of the Salesian Congregation, entitled “L’interiorità apostolica. Riflessioni sulla 'grazia di unità' come sorgente di carità postorale” (Apostolic interiority. Reflections on the “grace of unity” as a source of postoral charity), (LDC, Turin 2020). The text boasts a preface by Fr Ángel Fernández Artime (X Successor of Don Bosco), the afterword of Fr Pascual Chávez (IX Successor) and a contribution by Fr Juan Edmundo Vecchi (VIII Successor). We interviewed the editor of the volume, Fr Rossano Sala, a professor at the Salesian Pontifical University, director of the magazine Note di pastorale giovanile and former Special Secretary of the Synod on Youth.

Where did the idea for this book come from?

In 2020 the centenary of the birth and the 25th anniversary of the death of Don Viganò occur. For this reason, the Rector Major asked to commemorate and render this figure current.

Why was this specific text by Fr Viganò chosen for re-publishing?

Because it collects the best of Fr Viganò's thought and apostolic proposal to the Congregation and the Salesian Family. Today, more than ever, we risk losing our charismatic identity. Recovering "apostolic interiority" through the "grace of unity" is strategic and decisive.

What ought we understand by "grace of unity"?

Salesian life is active, dynamic, creative, apostolic. The risks are dispersion and activism, superficiality and spiritual mediocrity. "Grace of unity" means that we are what we are only if we remain united with God. That being active is not the opposite of being contemplative, and vice versa: this is very evident in the life of Jesus, who combines apostolic action with prayer on the Mountain. And it is also clear in Don Bosco, who always found the source of apostolic action in union with God.

Is it always necessary to start afresh from Don Bosco as a man of God?

Certainly, Don Bosco's secret lies in his interior life, in his "apostolic interiority". Union with God is at the root of every apostolic practice!

What did you ask of the three Rectors Major who took part in the volume?

Of Fr Ángel, just a short preface; he already has too much to do even in times of pandemic! Instead I thought of republishing a beautiful and little known circular letter from Fr Vecchi (ACG 354), which takes up the identity of the Salesian consecrated person starting from the many letters of his predecessor. To Fr Chávez, in the afterword to the volume, to update the long and fruitful teaching of Don Viganò for the present day of our life as consecrated persons and apostles of the young.

What are the expectations for this volume?

The Rector Major gave a copy of the text to all the Provinces, to all the houses of formation, to all the groups of the Salesian Family, and asked the Italian publisher (LDC) to offer free copyrights for any translations into other languages. The desire is not simply to disseminate the book and translate it, but to help every Salesian consecrated person and every member of the Salesian Family to live their vocation fully.


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