Italy – Bishop Cognata, a model of a Salesian and a bishop. Conclusions of conference: "Salesian charism in the light of oblation"

29 November 2022

(ANS - Messina) - The first Convention of theological-spiritual studies on the figure of the Servant of God Monsignor Giuseppe Cognata, SDB (1885-1972), Bishop of Bova and Founder of the Salesian Oblates of the Sacred Heart (SOSC), IX group of the Salesian Family, ended last Friday, Nov. 25, 2022, at the headquarters of the "St. Thomas" Theological Institute in Messina. The large and qualified participation in the Conference saw students, St. Thomas faculty, numerous SOSCs, experts and scholars of the history of Christianity immerse themselves in the articulate and dense program.

The proceedings were opened on the morning of Thursday 24 by greetings from local authorities, the Provincial of the Salesians of Sicily and Tunisia, Fr. Giovanni D'Andrea, and the Rector of the St. Thomas Institute, Fr. Gianni Russo. There followed four intense papers that traced the theological-magisterial context regarding the recognition of holiness in the Church - in the light of biblical texts, the Church Fathers, post-Tridentine spirituality, and in contemporary theology.

From this general context emerged the interpretative criteria for the reading of the complex biographical story of Bishop Cognata - masterfully summarized by Fr. Pierluigi Cameroni, Postulator General of the Causes of Saints of the Salesian Family - thanks to the interventions of Msgr. Cesare Di Pietro, Auxiliary Bishop of Messina, and Dr. Antonino Chilà, a profound scholar of the history of the diocese of Bova. Completing the intense day of studies, Msgr. Giovanni Accolla, Metropolitan Archbishop of Messina, also spoke and presided over the Eucharist.

The following day's papers brought attention to the meaning of oblation within the Salesian charism through three closely related papers by Prof. Lodovica Maria Zanet, Collaborator of the General Postulation, Prof. Fr. Jésus Manuel García Gutiérrez, Professor of Spirituality at the Salesian Pontifical University (UPS) in Rome, and Fr. François-Marie Léthel, a Carmelite and former Preacher of the Pontifical Household.

It was precisely the last talk that touched the pinnacle of study insights, bringing to light the unpublished "1949 Memorial," which constitutes a unique document of inestimable value, especially for contemporary spirituality and not only for the Salesian Family, in a current period when episcopal dignity needs recognizable charismatic exemplarity. The sacrifice that Bishop Cognata endured throughout his life was a permanent ordeal that confirms once again the full conformation to the paschal mystery of Christ and the permanent validity of Don Bosco's Salesian charism.

Finally, the Convention was crowned by the musical performance given by "Charmonie Vocal Group" with the presence of young people from the "Alos Groups," the Lay Association associated with the Congregation of Salesian Oblates of the Sacred Heart.

The Acts of the Conference will be edited by Prof. Fr. Antonino Romano, Director of the magazine "Catechesi. Nuova Serie", and will soon be made available.


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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