RMG – Don Bosco and young people. Fr Costa: "Fight loneliness and give hope for life"

Image: Nino Musio

(ANS – Rome) – "Hope is a dimension of faith and can give meaning to daily life. We must make people understand the value of a life lived from the perspective of a project to be carried out with others and among these a friendly, personal and merciful God." This is how Fr Joseph Costa, co-spokesperosn of the Salesian Congregation, spoke on the day commemorating Saint John Bosco, whom the Pope invited his audience during the General Audience to imitate, "educating young people in the faith and forming them in various fields of knowledge and professions, for a better future, in which humanity can enjoy peace, brotherhood and tranquillity".

Two hundred years ago Don Bosco had what has gone down in history as the "Dream at nine years of age"...

Don Bosco, like so many human beings, experienced dreams and some of them we can count among those that are prophetic and prescient. He recounted and described some of them in the Memoirs of the Oratory, an autobiographical text. The dream he had at the age of nine, in 1824, was like a compass for his existence, orienting him towards the project that Providence indicated to him. It is the dream that sees wolves transformed into lambs, replacing scenes of violence with landscapes of serene peace.

It is Mary Help of Christians herself who indicates the method that will be described as preventive: reason, religion, loving-kindness. That is why this dream from Don Bosco's 10th successor, Card. Ángel Fernández Artime, was chosen as the strenna for the Salesian Family scattered across 130 countries around the world.

The educational challenge is confronted with a new world, with challenges ranging from social to artificial intelligence...

We live in times of educational poverty for various reasons: lack of educators and families, poor traditional institutions, spaces increasingly occupied by uncontrollable communication technologies. The Salesians try to be in the midst of this by sharing the same technologies, transmitting content rich in values, motivating life alongside the young people themselves.

Suicide, self-harming behaviours, eating disorders, conflicts between parents and children, withdrawal of young people from school and social life are on the rise. Is it a hopeless generation?

The increase in suicide at a young age is of concern, such as psychic depression and conflicts of various kinds. Yet, we believe, following Don Bosco, that young people always have seeds of goodness and generosity in their hearts to be developed for the future.

We must fight their loneliness, respond to their needs including provoking questions when they are not asked. We need to be close to them by loving them and helping them achieve a previously dreamed future.

Hope is a dimension of religious faith itself and can give meaning to everyday life. It is also necessary to understand the value of a life lived from the perspective of a project to be carried out with others and among these a friendly, personal and merciful God who calls each and every one to achieve the supreme good.

What responsibility does the school have for the growth of young people?

The school still has a central responsibility, especially since, regardless of dropouts, young people attend school at least for a few years. A quality school capable of offering learning and research projects in a socialising experience will hardly be left behind. We need teachers who live their experience a gift of self, but with serious and engaging professionalism.

Salesians have always been close to young people. Who supports families in their educational journey?

The family has a fundamental role in the educational journey as long as it is not hijacked by its own internal crisis or by other educational drivers such as the media and social media. The Church through parishes, associations and groups of various kinds can support the family by inviting it not to give up and debating problems in joint pastoral work.


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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