RMG - 10 programmatic sentences of Pope Francis to Salesians worldwide at General Chapter

29 June 2020

(ANS - Rome) - Pope Francis really wanted to be present at the 28th General Chapter of the Salesians in Turin-Valdocco, the house where Don Bosco knew how to create a real school of holiness. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, it was not possible for him to do so, but the Holy Father made himself present anyway with a letter written in his own hand to the Salesians, as a sign of closeness, affection and gratitude for the formation received. Here are 10 sentences that still resonate as programmatic of that letter of his called "The Valdocco option".

1.    The noise of the oratories.  I am sure that the noise and chatter of the oratories will be the best and most effective music for the Spirit to rekindle the charismatic gift of your founder. Do not shut the windows to this background noise...

2.    Neither adapt to the culture in fashion, nor take refuge in a heroic but already disembodied past. In changing times it is good to pay good attention to St Paul’s words to Timothy: “For this reason I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands; for God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline” (2 Tim 1:6-7).

3.    Cultivate a contemplative attitude, one that is able to identify and discern the focal points. This will help to enter into the journey with the spirit and the contribution of Don Bosco's sons and, like him, to develop a “bold cultural revolution” (Enc. Laudato Si’, 114).

4.    Neither a pessimist nor an optimist, the Salesians of the 21st century is a man filled with hope because he knows that his centre is the Lord who can make all things new (cf. Rev 21:5). Only this will save us from living in an attitude of resignation and defensive survival. Only this will make our lives fruitful (cf. homily, 2 February 2017).

5.    Living faithfully the charism is something richer and more stimulating than the simple abandonment, retreat or readjustment of houses or activities; it implies a change of mentality in the face of the mission that must be carried out.

6.   May the charism be renewed. Every charism needs to be renewed and evangelized, and in your case especially by the poorest young people.

7.    It is important to say that we are not formed for the mission, but that we are formed in the mission.  Our whole life revolves around it, with its choices and priorities.

8.    Coadjutor Brothers are a living expression of the gratuitousness that the charism invites us to safeguard. Your consecration is, above all, a sign of the gratuitous love of the Lord, and to the Lord in his young people, which is not defined primarily by a particular ministry, function or service, but by a presence.

9.    The universal presence of your Salesian Family is a stimulus and an invitation to guard and preserve the richness of many of the cultures in which you are immersed without trying to get them all to conform. 

10.   Dream of open, fruitful and evangelizing houses capable of allowing the Lord to show so many young people His unconditional love and also allowing you to enjoy the beauty to which you have been called. Dream...


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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