Presided by the Rector Major, Fr Angel F. Artime, and FMA Superior General, Mother Yvonne Reungoat, with the two General Councils in full attendance for a total of 30 participants, spent five hours together in a spirit of family. After Vespers, the Rector Major shared his Salesian Good Night Talk on the leadership crisis in the world and in the Church, which could be overcome in the style of Pope Francis – via honest behavior and credibility.
Compared to the previous meeting, taking place last January, significant progress was made in steps leading to the forthcoming Synod. Mother Reungoat published her letter to FMA Sisters: “Towards the Synod with the young” - n. 970, May 24, 2017. Fr Ángel published his letter to the Salesians, 24 July 24 2017, on the Synod's "Lineamenta, or preparatory document, as our journey's compass." Both the SDB and FMA were invited to listen to the young as per Pope Francis' request for the Synod.
During the exchange - first discussed in four small groups, then shared with the assembly - what emerged were several examples of good practice and inspired notes deemed helpful for the SDB and FMA at the local and provincial levels:
- the journey towards the 2018 Synod is a unique chance for the entire Salesian family to be one with the universal Church and share the Salesian charism in the local Churches;
- only when SDB and FMA listen to the young with compassion will they, in turn, listen to us;
- the deficit in Salesian accompaniment of the young might be caused by the personal lack of accompaniment received;
- Pope Francis' invitation to listen to young people is an appeal to a real and concrete conversion, to give time to the young at any and every possible occasion, to invest more in personal support as the heart of the Preventive System of Don Bosco;
- there is a need for a more active presence of SDB and FMA among the young within the Salesian Youth Movement and the missionary volunteers, especially as being a point of reference for certain roles is a sign of these times;
- afirst necessary and credible act among the young is to show a joint presence of SDB and FMA religious who are actively listening. Young people want to see SDB and FMA working together.
Three days from the conclusion of their respective summer sessions of FMA and SDB General Councils, the participants have deepened their understanding that the journey towards the 2018 Synod is an occasion and a responsibility that is extremely precious for the growth of the Salesian charism in the Church.