By Pierluigi Lazzarini
My parents played a vital role in shaping my life and values. They were devout catholics. My father was a teacher and catechist in my village. My mother was an illiterate village woman. But they were pious people. Sociable people of relationship. They taught us ways to reach out to the poorest. Today we are 6 religious people in tahe family among whom 3 are salesians. One commong trait that all of us have is the love for the poorest.
I owe my vocation to my salesians. I entered the salesian house when I was 9 years old. So this month, I am entering into 50th year of my journey with Don Bosco …I am past pupils of Don Bosco, admirer and follower of Don Bosco. That is the inspiration I got from my school years that made me follow Don Bosco more. In my school years, I experienced the love of salesians for the poorest boys. One coadjutor brother who was the administrator showed me how much salesians loved the poor, cancelling my fees for three years. That one stroke of pen made me salesian today. Thus I am also past pupil. So today I am happy to be the delegate for the past pupils at the world level. I am grateful to the Rector Major for the trust he placed on me by giving me this wonderful mission.
Happy and Sad moments
My happiest moments are the moments of my first profession in 1977, my ordination in 1987 and when I became provincial in 2011. These are the moments of God experience, how God has been guiding me and trusting me and the moments of experience of the maternal guidance of our Blessed mother. On my first profession, when I was not sure of the future, I prayed to our blessed mother to be with me always. Till today I can feel her closeness and maternal guidance and protection. All that I am and all that I have, I owe to our blessed Mother Mary Help of Christians. I do not remember any very big sad moment. Problems and sad moments have been there and are part of life but nothing comes to my mind of any great significance. One of the graces that God gave me was to take things are they were and to consider the crisis as the way to clarity.
Salesian Congregation in India
The presence and the growth of the salesian congregation is very encouraging and phenomenal. We do have many vocations which is a sign of vitality. In my own province of Chennai, we have an average of 12 to 15 new professions every year and an average of 10 ordinationsn every year. There is lot of focus on the poor particularly on the street chidlen, orphans and children with Aids, young released prisoners, migrant youth etc. There is great attention on the education of the poor young, empowering them with values and technical expertise through DB Tech. More attention needs to be given to reach out to the orphans, the abandoned and the poorest youth, while simplicity of life among the salesians needs to be taken care of constantly.
Future of World Confederation of the Past Pupils
Association of Past pupils is a huge potential. In a way, it is a sleeping giant. In my opinion, every year about 200,000 pass out from our institutions all over the world. It offers us a big challenge to organize them into an organization to help them build up their lives, and continue to mould them into apostles who build up the Church and the Society
Strength of the organization
Great and focussed lay leadership, united presidency team with a great vision
System is being set up with Executive council meeting, setting up of the secretariat, presidency meeting, continental regional meetings, visit to build up the organization in different counties Great leap with clarity and vision, setting up 7 priorities focussing on information (database, communication), formation (formation, family, salesion family) and transformation (Busines platform and fund-raising for the salesian mission) Enthusiasm among the salesians and past pupils in different parts of the world Past pupils who have grown, thanks to the preventive system education of Don Bosco and are well placed in the society and business
To help the provinces that need to take the first steps; to enhance the existing and already formed units; to activate the units and federations that are struggling; to sustain the powerful ones; To make the Federations grow with the sense of gratitude and thus go beyond the desire of power and position and thus to help the organization become self sufficient and to contribute towards the salesian mission, To form the past pupils into honest leaders and committed christians into ultimately becoming leaders in public pheres, political and social arenas To help our past pupils open to new realities and signs of the times
Role of Laity
The formation of laity and their greater role in the Church and in the society remains a big challemge for the Congregation, even much after the Second Vatican Council. On their part, the past pupils should take more effort to form themselves with values and vision to become competent to take up leadership, committed and generous. On the part of the salesians to prepare the present students with vision and values that will make them good parents in their families and leaders who build up the world and the Church on Gospel values.
Immediate Action Plan
It is important to make know the seven priorities of the Past Pupils Association all over the world, through the formation of the units and federations, helping them to grow as one unit with a clear vision. Formation of basic units with data base, focusing on their formation towards individual maturity, family values and social consciousness. A life lived well is a life lived for others. Setting up units and federations with leaders who are committed and generous, and help them form clear vision in their won contexts in line with the vision of the world confederation, adapted to their own contexts Formation of past pupils into leaders who can build up the Church and the society, with particular attention on the poorest and the most needy children and the young Strengthening the General Secretariat and the presidency team through animation and organization meetings.
Source: Exallievi NewsFlash