Italy - "Being Yeast in today’s human family": Presentation of the Strenna 2023 by the Rector Major

28 December 2022

(ANS - Rome) - On Tuesday, 27th December 2022, the Rector Major of the Salesians of Don Bosco, Fr Ángel Fernández Artime, at the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, presented the Strenna 2023: "AS THE YEAST IN TODAY’S HUMAN FAMILY. The lay dimension of the Family of Don Bosco", to the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians and to the whole Salesian Family.

Present for this event were the Mother General of the FMA Institute, Sr. Chiara Cazzuola, and her Council, the Mother Emeritus, Sr. Yvonne Reungoat; the General Councillor for Social Communication, Fr. Gildasio Mendes; the Economer General of the Salesian Congregatio Br. Jean Paul Muller; the provincial of the province of St. John Bosco (IRO), the Superior of the vice-province Mary Mother of the Church (RMC), the Novices of the Mary Help of Christians International Novitiate of Castel Gandolfo (Rome) several FMAs, other Salesians of Don Bosco and representatives of the Salesian Family.

The event began with a song to our blessed mother Mary animated by the Novices, protagonists of a juggling show, followed by the introductory note on the Strenna 2023 Video by Sr. Leslye Sándigo, the General Councillor for the Salesian Family. The presentation of the video was followed by an interview with the Rector Major by Sr. Maria Ausilia De Siena, FMA, General Councillor for Communication, and Marta Rossi, Salesian Cooperator. Several questions were asked: the reasons for choosing the theme of the lay dimension and the meaning of being yeast, an element "that belongs to the DNA of all Christians", with that which pertains proper to the Salesian charism. And again: how to propose to young people a lifestyle that grows in silence, like leaven, and, as Salesian Family, how to be leaven for these young people who live conditions of hardship amplified by the pandemic.

It was an opportunity for Fr Ángel Fernández Artime to explain the reason for choosing this theme and above all to emphasize the complementarity between the members of the Salesian Family itself with regard to the mission for the young people. He invited the whole Salesian Family not to be discouraged in the mission, not to believe that young people are closed to proposals, not to want to change the world with a magic wand, but above all to sow small seeds and let the Holy Spirit do the rest. The "sowing of small seeds", the Rector Major emphasized, consists of "a continuous presence with young people, attentive listening, a word whispered in their ear with affection".

Responding to the other questions - on the community, on Salesian identity, on politics - Fr Ángel Fernández Artime also highlighted the challenges of an authentically Christian witness, the need to walk together, to engage in the world with courageous choices, to which members of the Salesian Family are called to support young people so that they learn to "be honest public workers" and to "engage in political life" with the aim of transforming their society and the world. Special attention was given to adolescents, described by the Rector Major as "a special part of society" that deserves great attention.

"To be leaven, with the presence and personal encounter with young people, through small daily gestures, made with love" are some of the ways suggested by Fr Ángel Fernández Artime, who emphasised the great opportunity that the Salesian Family has to be with a large number of boys and girls and their families every day, a source of commitment in life and hope in today's difficult existential reality. He also urged everyone to continue to be the daily leaven in preparing the tasty bread in the Salesian mission in the world.

The FMA Mother General, Sr Maria Chiara Cazzuola, thanked Fr Ángel for the 'live' presentation of the Strenna, and for the opportunity, through this theme, to deepen the lay dimension of the Salesian Family, a profound intuition of Don Bosco, reviving in each person the awareness of being able to be a family, to pursue the good and be fruitful as yeast every day.

The Rector Major offers a strenna to the Salesian Family, with focus on a specific theme, and this is the ninth year of the presentation of the Strenna for the current Rector Major Fr. Fr Ángel. The event was followed worldwide through the live broadcast in five languages: French, Italian, English, Spanish and Portuguese.

Here is the video of the Strenna.


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