In 2014 the Department started a continuous and forward-looking journey of study and reflection, consisting in a number of stages in which all the Provinces of the Congregation are and will be gradually involved:
- Study of the family contexts in all regions, through a number of study sessions involving all the Delegates for Youth Ministry. These were organized with the help of qualified experts from different regions (September 2015 - February 2016).
- Creation of an international study group, which outlined the main emerging issues and drew a realistic and detailed analysis of challenges to the family. The creation of this group was based on the study of the different contexts, which was carried out during the first stage (March 2016).
- Analysis of the provincial and local context, through a consultation addressed to all Provinces: a Questionnaire that the Provincial Councils used to share information on their pastoral work and on the support they provide to families in their area (June - February 2017).
- Organization of the International Congress on Youth and Family Ministry. It will aim at further studying the current guidelines on the family set by the Church and the Congregation, sharing challenges and educational and/or pastoral opportunities, as well as creating new fora for reflection and action within the education and ministry community.
The Congress will be a forum for participation and representation of all the Provinces of the Congregation. As to the choice of participants, a set number of people and their profile have been identified so that congress sessions and proceedings can advance smoothly. This is why participants include lay people and religious of our society, who are involved with families in the field of Salesian Youth Ministry, so that they will be able to help promote and strengthen various pastoral processes on behalf of the family, as topic and recipients of our ministry. A specific number of participants has been set for every Province (in the "participants" section of the web page you may find this data). Provincial Delegates for Youth Ministry, instead of single individuals, will manage the registration process.
The following are the most important dates leading up to the General Congress, to help Provinces prepare for it:
- March 28th – July 31th 2017: registration, enrolment and payment period.
- 1 August - 30 September 2017: registration to activities (panel of "good practices" and training workshop or "Mini Course") and registration.