140 Economers, or Bursars, and Administrative Officers from the Provinces of Italy and the Middle East took part in the meeting in Rome. On Tuesday 5 December, Mr. Jean Paul Muller, Economer General of the Congregation, discussed the theme: "a new model of community management." He contextualized the role of the economy within a new social and religious paradigm which "obliges us to rethink the Salesian presence in the legal and economic context of Europe. This new paradigm requires that the Provinces work as a network, have clear and transparent management and use teams of competent professionals."
"Sometimes we possess goods without knowing their value; we must rediscover their worth so these assets be functional to our mission. We need to regain possession of these assets to enable us to offer services directly connected to young people as part of our mission," said Mr. Muller.
In this context, the Economer General stressed the need to:
- streamline administration;
- communicate and share experiences to create a pool of common knowledge, working as a network - at the provincial, national and European levels;
- invest in communication to promote and disseminate the work done, good Salesian work;
- invest more in people than in activities. Without "good, reasonable and honest Salesians", every investment is destined to give few results.
The Rector Major warned of the temptations of the "power" one had in exercising this role, and warned Provincials against choosing those religious seeking this type of assignment, but rather to choose from those Salesians who demonstrated a clear spirit of service. At another point in his discourse, he referred to the importance of "choosing the right personnel for our centers, to avoid hiring only by virtue of family ties or friendship. We must be objective in choosing and transparent in monetary management."
"The economy," he concluded, "is a way of living the mission. We must realize that our Constitutions are points of reference and our guide. Our strength lies in a network model, which acts in equilibrium between sustainability and the search for what Providence offers us, the economy and shared responsible