Italy – Northeast Italy Province plans its new pastoral year together with Fr. García Morcuende

08 September 2022

(ANS - Mestre) - September represents a time of a restart for many Salesian Provinces, which in this period resume the programming and planning of activities for the entire pastoral year. This is also the case for the "San Marco" Province of Northeastern Italy (INE), which from Sept. 2 to 5 initiated a series of coordination meetings, accompanied by the General Councilor for Youth Ministry, Fr. Miguel Angel García.

On Friday, Sept. 2, 2022, after a two-year stop due to regulatory restrictions caused by Covid-19, School Day was resumed for Salesian works in the province. At the Salesian Don Bosco Institute in Mestre, more than 700 people, including teachers and formatore from the Vocational Training Centers, gathered for a morning of training. After the initial greeting of the Provincial, Fr. Igino Biffi - who invited them to be missionaries, full of hope, on the way to holiness, following the example of Artemide Zatti - Fr. García Morcuende spoke. He talked about the dreams to be cultivated in order to reap fruits. "In the school, one does not only form the mind, or start a job, but takes to heart the education of the whole human person," he recalled in his speech, which offered many concrete insights, thanks to the sharing of some operational strategies to be implemented in the coming pastoral year. 

Instead, on Saturday, September 3, 2022, at the Salesian Institute "Sardagna" in Castello di Godego, more than a hundred Salesians took part in the Provincial Assembly. After the opening prayer, and Fr. Biffi's words of welcome, the General Councillor for Youth Ministry spoke.  He offered some indications on Salesian identity: from "da mihi animas" to the "sacrament of presence," taking up some of the programmatic guidelines of GC28. In summary, he spoke about Don Bosco, his passion for souls, as a mirror in which to look at himself, outlining some challenges that all Salesians are called to face in the present time. He then offered three verbs that must move the Salesian -convoking, motivating and involving - and outlined the characteristics of the Don Bosco Salesian: believer, charismatic, prophet, capable of recognizing and valuing the young people in front of him, co-responsible, inspirational, fatherly, dreamer, visionary, humble. 

On Sunday, Sept. 4, back in Mestre, it was instead the turn of the Salesian Youth Movement (SYM) Pathways Council, which was attended by more than 60 people including Salesians, Daughters of Mary Help of Christians and young people, who gathered to reflect and plan the various paths to be offered to young people throughout the year. The opening greetings, which included the intervention not only of Fr. Biffi, but also of Sister Palmira De Fortunati, Provincial of the FMA of Triveneto, was followed by the intervention of Fr. García Morcuende, who presented a reflection on "Adolescence and youth: vocational age and SYM accompaniment." Under the circumstance, the General Councilor articulately touched on numerous aspects of the path of Salesian accompaniment: the maturity of the educator and that of the young person; the recognition of life stages and the understanding of adolescence as a time of transformation and youth as a time of important choices; the stages of the process of vocational discernment; the courage of the vocational proposal, of vocational ideals, of education in values; and the Salesian pedagogy that knows how to reflect on why to accompany young people and how to accompany them in the environment, in the group and personally. In the afternoon, work continued divided by work teams.

Finally, on Monday, September 5, 2022, still in Mestre, the Day of the Beginning of the Year was held with the teams of the Salesian Social Works, with the presence of 30 people including lay people and Salesians from the 7 centers that in the Triveneto welcome the neediest and most disadvantaged young people into their homes. "One of the greatest challenges," Fr. García Morcuende said on the occasion, "is to build the personality of the youths and understand what we can offer them to be citizens of the future." His evaluations covered the various dimensions of action with young people: those educational-cultural, to help young people build their own unified identity/personality; those of faith education, developing their interiority and fostering an encounter with God; those associational, creating a sense of belonging through the group; and those vocational, helping young people understand what their life project is. The meeting concluded with the celebration of the Eucharist, making liturgical memory of St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta, an example of holiness in the mission on behalf of the poorest and most disadvantaged people.



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