The main inputs to the encounter were provided by Fr Rosanno Sala, SDB (Special Secretary to the 2018 Synod), on the “Christus Vivit” Apostolic Exhortation (chapters 7-8) and Sr Runita Borja, FMA (General Councilor for the Youth Ministry), on the emerging points of GC24: Listening to the Young, Journey with Mary, Missionary Synodality and Hope-filled reading of present reality. After their talks followed a traditional mixed Groups and Assembly sharing, with several points of inspiration emerged:
- Main attention was on HOW do we LISTEN and ACCOMPANY the young people personally and also as a community;
- We need to always focus on the encounter with the poor and marginalized youth, who are the heart of Don Bosco and Mother Mazarello. Today it would mean also a specific focus on youth struggling with drug addictions;
- We need to not only read the 'Christus Vivit' but also study and own its main inspirations;
- We need to find courage to change our structures and lifestyle according to the needs of the concrete young people around us: Who are we for?
- Open questions are making our life healthier: What kind of Salesians for the Youth of Today? or Who is moving our Life? Are we moved by the Youth and by the Spirit?
In his Good Night Talk, Fr Ángel Fernández Artime reflected on the thousands of youth in need or at risk who are daily being saved in Salesian houses around the world on a daily basis. Children and young people who are welcomed and loved in the SDB and FMA education and works finding their salvation. The necessary change in and of our lives wished through the General Chapter journeys (SDB - GC 28 and FMA - GC 24) may happen only if we open our hearts daily and give our lives to the young. Only we mustn't ever let them stay alone in our playgrounds, but join them, be among them, so that we may experience that the young are saving us - as nicely expressed already by the late Fr Juan E. Vecchi!
We firmly believe that the Salesian Family is growing through simple life sharing, praying and sharing meals, in the family spirit atmosphere with simplicity and an open heart. Another stop on our common journey of the two General Councils offers much inspiration. The plentiful informal exchanges of experiences during meal times also fosters a mutual understanding of Salesian charism in different forms: “The recognition that without the other the members of a particular Group cannot be themselves ought to be an awareness cultivated by all SF groups.” (Salesian Family Identity Charter, art. 10).