Italy – GC28: Prayer and study continue, discussion in commissions and fraternity

21 February 2020

(ANS - Turin) - The Rector Major, Fr Angel Fernandez Artime, recalled General Chapter 20: “Historians, theologians, politicians and organizers are not enough to carry out the necessary discernment and renewal: men called spiritual are needed, men of faith, sensitive to the things of God and ready for courageous obedience, as was our Founder."

It is in this context that the mornings of 19-20-21 were dedicated to reflection and prayer. The three interventions can be found on the site, section dedicated to GC28.

Fr Rossano Sala, professor at the Salesian Pontifical University and former Special Secretary of the Synod on Young People, offered his proposal for meditation in the context of the first nucleus of the chapter theme: young people.

He first examined the inspiring criteria of Jesus' action towards young people, and then invited to examine and discuss the profound reasons for Don Bosco's vocational choices. These had some important moments in the discussion with the wisdom of Fr Cafasso and the meeting with young prisoners, in the experience of the shepherdess dream, in the strong and decisive dialogue with the Marchesa di Barolo. The meeting with this holy woman, sincerely concerned about Don Bosco's health and mission among young people, was resolved on the day when the holy educator communicated his decision:

My answer is already thought out. You have money and will easily find as many priests as you want for your institutes. This is not the case with poor children. Right now, if I retire, everything goes up in smoke, so I will continue to do what I can for the Refuge, I will cease from regular employment and I will deliberately give myself to the care of abandoned children."

In the context of the Salesian's profile, Fr Eunan McDonnel, Provincial of Ireland, immediately recalled that the distinctive feature of Salesian spirituality is sweetness and loving kindness. "There is nothing as strong as sweetness and nothing as sweet as true strength" (St Francis de Sales).

The question "what kind of Salesians for today's young people" should be enriched with other questions: "What does God expect of us. Do we know what God wants us to be? Lord, what kind of Salesians for today's young people?"

To find an answer, it is necessary to learn to listen because “if and when we listen to God, the script changes. We no longer go according to our expectations, but we discover that God offers us even greater possibilities than we could have imagined." Consequently, discernment becomes prayerful discernment and "one can be capable of a style which is that of contemplation in action, imitating Don Bosco," as Blessed Filippo Rinaldi also recalled: "If you want to live according to the spirit of Don Bosco, you must not never lose sight of his inner life ... continually united to God in prayer."

Fr Luis Fernando Gutierrez, National Delegate for Youth Ministry in Spain, offered his reflection on the third nucleus: that of sharing mission and formation with the laity.

First of all, there is the synodal style, which recalls how the mission is a task entrusted by God, and nobody is its master.

Discernment is the heart of pastoral care, because its first task is to meet God in every person's life.

To support this journey, the Salesian must live in humility, which supports the path of mediation: "Let us not forget that we are only mediators. The problem of pastoral care is mediation." The Baptist is the model: "It is better that He grows and I diminish."

The Salesian is called to live and share the tent of the mission, in the unity and consequentiality of the vocation and mission in the name of Don Bosco and of the Salesian charism: to build the future with humility, joy and hope.

In the second part of the meetings, six work sessions were dedicated to the study and deepening of the Rector Major's Report on the state of the Congregation.

Photos on ANSFlickr


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