This isolation has allowed a gallery of brave faces to intensify their work by providing gestures that are selfless and full of humanity. And the Salesian educator asks himself: What real and coherent pastoral response in times of pandemic? With what challenges? With what criteria? What should be our motivations?
If the need to take care and to be the object of care is consubstantial for the human being, pastoral care is now a priority. Care is not just an extra "pastoral practice", but the most suitable accompaniment practice in these times.
And in light of this, what criteria must we adopt for an adequate educational-pastoral action? Where to look at this complex reality? We dare say that our evangelizing perspective should revolve around three indicators, of special depth and urgency, which are: creativity, audacity and discernment. I would like to contribute to these three attitudes, with some brief indications:
- Coronavirus is an opportunity to stop, come to a halt. Now more than ever it is necessary to develop the habit of discernment, a healthy hermeneutic that promotes the question: what is the Lord saying to us in this historical moment? What am I learning? What did I lose? What is essential?
- The crisis, we must not forget, also generates pain. For this reason, it is necessary to listen to suffering, to exercise decentralization of oneself in order to focus on the physical and psychological peripheries to which we are called as Church.
- Pastoral care also means accompanying personal construction processes: the "Samaritan dimension of faith" starts from the pastoral assumption that every situation of pain and personal and social crisis is an opportunity for reconstruction and personal growth.
- Confinement is saving lives, but it can also help us in that necessary reconciliation with our own fragility. People experience that any failure during the entire life cycle can unbalance important areas.
- All these suggestions can and must be combined with experiences of proximity, practical answers and effective impact. Effective, yes, but affective strategies, which allow a conscious and supportive approach.
- But vulnerability does not become the protagonist only in the life of those who are accompanied. It is also present in the life of those who accompany, of those who take care. The Resurrection is the "miracle" of living everything in the name of Jesus. And in this everything, there are our meetings, our encouragement, our listening, our prayer.
Fr Miguel Ángel Garcia Morcuende,
General Councilor for Youth Ministry