Italy – "I am grateful to God for granting me the Grace of knowing Don Bosco": interview with Cinzia Arena, World Administrator of Salesian Cooperators

24 February 2021

(ANS - Piedimonte Matese) - Since the time of its approval in May 1876, the Association of Salesian Cooperators has contributed to spreading the Salesian mission in many countries of the world. Today, sharing her vocational history and her experience of service in the Salesian Family is the World Administrator of the Association, Cinzia Arena, born in 1971 in Naples - although today she lives in Piedimonte Matese, Province of Caserta - a graduate in Economics and Commerce and employed in the Third Sector for non-profit associations.

What is your vocational history as a Salesian Cooperator?

I've been a Salesian Cooperator since 6 May 2000. From a young age, I was fascinated by the joy that shone on the faces of the young people in the parish choir: it was Don Bosco's smile! This is how Don Bosco won me over, with joy. I then entered the parish choir, where I met Tito, my husband. I perceived the importance of my vocation immensely in 2010, when I, my husband and other Salesian Cooperators were asked to manage the oratory. I renew my "yes" to Don Bosco every day, having held numerous roles within the Association, until I became its World Administrator in 2016.

What makes you happy as a Salesian Cooperator?

I'm immensely grateful to God for having granted me the grace to know Don Bosco and to be able to follow him as a Salesian Cooperator; I am happy with the gift of this vocation because it allows me to bear witness to Christ in the Salesian style. It gives me the opportunity to look at the world with Don Bosco's gaze, to penetrate the bowels of humanity to instill optimism where there is darkness and to get close to young people.

What joy does it give you to be a World Administrator?

It is a unique experience. At the time of the election, which took place in February 2016, the sense of responsibility was paralyzing me, the fear of making mistakes was gaining the upper hand, so Don Bosco, who speaks to me through the people he places near me, intervened by making me find this phrase by chance on a Facebook profile: "God does not choose the most capable, but makes those he chooses capable". My mind and my heart opened up. The fear did not go away, but I realized that my mission was to serve the Association by donating my professional experience as an economist and project designer in the third sector.

You are also involved in the “Economy of Francesco”. What dreams do you have for it?

My service to the Association consists above all in sensitizing all Salesian Cooperators to a new understanding of the economy. The economy we deal with is not our goal, but our tool; our goal is mutual help, as a response to concrete needs. It follows that we place the word "solidarity" alongside the word "economy". My dream is that this approach be clear to every Salesian Cooperator of today and tomorrow.

Source: AustraLasia

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