The activities of the Salesian Communication Days (GCS) took place as scheduled and explored the guiding theme "Being Christians in a changing world". In the early afternoon on Friday, Fr Giulio Albanese, a Combonian missionary and journalist, introduced and illustrated the Holy Father's Message for World Communications Day 2022 to participants; its theme: "Listening with the ear of the heart".
"One must know and understand the complexity of the world understood as a global village, to deal squarely with reality. To have the courage to live through suffering, to continue to search to believe, hope and love, not give up the fight. In times of post-Covid-19 and war, and beyond, it is necessary to bet again on formation, culture, listening, and dialogue. The Christian community, as well as all educational agencies in the field, has the task of promoting the exercise of thought, influenced and enlightened, in faith, by the Holy Spirit," said the missionary-journalist.
Afterward, the participants asked some questions for further study and discussion and were then divided into groups to reflect together on several general themes, previously identified, related to the Christian life as young religious, in light of the motto that guided this year's GSC.
The afternoon continued with the sharing in the assembly of the experiences of the workgroups, as well as the commitments made. In the evening, after a moment of prayer led by the SDB novices and time for fraternal agape, some video-interviews made by the same young men in formation with other young men of their own age on the value of faith and Christian life in today's world were projected and discussed.
The day ended with a "Salesian goodnight" offered by Fr Maria Arokiam Kanaga, Superior of the UPS "Mary Seat of Wisdom" Vice-Province. On this occasion, Fr Kanaga underlined the importance for every member of the Salesian Family to be a "communicator of the joy that comes from God", and also exhorted each of those present to live in such a way that each person who meets him or her is led to recognize in him or her, as in the Apostle John, "the beloved disciple".
Saturday morning the day began with the Eucharist, animated by the young FMA and presided over by Fr Gildasio Mendes.
During his homily, the General Councilor for Communication observed how in this Easter season the Gospel of John presents Jesus appearing to his disciples along the sea, the place of work for that community of fishermen, and emphasized how the apostles, without Jesus, were unable to catch anything. It is Jesus himself, in fact, who teaches them a new way of "casting their nets". All this, clarified Fr Mendes, is also valid for the “net-works” or the “inter-net”: it is necessary to follow Jesus' method of using the net, which is the method of the Good Shepherd and Communicator and which allows us to "inhabit the digital and virtual world knowing how to listen, dialogue and accompany in the paths of life and faith, maintaining an attitude of openness and mercy". Then the General Councilor for Communication indicated the SDB and FMA youth to the figures of Don Bosco and Mother Mazzarello, who knew how to follow the example and method of Jesus, and who, thanks to their fidelity to Christ, the youth and the Church, became an example to imitate. "Today it is up to us to continue their journey," Fr Mendes concluded.
After Mass, the activities continued with a session of parallel workshops, nine in all, on a wide variety of topics, led and animated by experts in their respective fields and of great topicality, all linked to the life and difficulties that a young Christian may encounter today: Christian witness to peace, integral ecology, the challenges of gender identity, scandals in the Church, creativity in the liturgy, the religious imagery presented in audiovisual platforms, the relationship between consecrated persons and the web, the reality of today's youth universe and the credibility of the individual.
As days dedicated to communication, an adequate amount of time for listening to and evaluating the activities of the participants was set aside: necessary feedback to make communication authentic and to refine more and more, with the passing of the editions, this initiative of the Salesian Days of Communication, which began 10 years ago.
The experience concluded with a final moment of fraternal agape, and the feedback obtained testified to general satisfaction with an offer of formation in communication that is necessary more than ever today and the request to further deepen and structure paths and journeys on the theme.