When we think of a Salesian educative and pastoral action, at the centre is the young person, his integral formation, his needs, with his hopes and anxieties, with his joys and difficulties, with his dynamic and vitality capable of educational processes alternative to those of the ‘throw-away’ culture, of the culture of conformism, helping him to look ahead, reviving our commitment "for and with the new generations", investing our "best energies" with "creativity and responsibility" to "form people willing to put themselves at the service of the community", as we say, by forming and educating "honest citizens and good Christians".
For us, to educate is to revive, to inspire, to favour and to encourage: to make people dream! To make people dream the dream of God. For this reason, education goes hand in hand with evangelization. An education that proposes a horizon of meaning and an evangelization that becomes a proclamation and an encounter with Jesus, with the Church, with the Gospel, with life in God.
As an attitude, all this presupposes the ability to be present among the young people, as "journeying companions" in a "patient listening, constructive dialogue and mutual understanding" that leads to an "educational alliance", making each young person a protagonist for the transformation of the world. Young people ask us to be with them, to live their reality, their culture, their places. It is an invitation to "dwell" the complexity of the young person's life and "humanize" it, in a journey of life and faith that leads to educating to questions, "priority over providing answers", for "a new thought, capable of holding together unity and diversity, equality and freedom, identity and otherness", listening, accompanying and discerning "the cry that rises from the depths of the hearts of our young people". A presence in which willingness, listening, joy and dedication are essential notes to stir up processes, welcoming them and familiarizing them with their history; going from doing only something "for them" to living in communion "with them".
It is really beautiful the image of Pope Francis of an education that connects "the head, the heart and precisely the hands" (ChV, 222). We see him very much present in the educational dimension and strength of professional formation: the first choice is Salesian integral education, applied as an antidote to cultural and social discrimination, offering an opportunity, especially to the poorest, to be able to respond with competence and technical, human, and work skills. The excellence of vocational training proposals is a pillar of building bridges with the world of work, and therefore, a chance to grow and be a person who can have more future, offering young people an additional guarantee of integration, socialization, communion with the reality of the future, also in a perspective that updates skills throughout life in "life-long learning".
To educate in order to grow in the "educational village" is for us "Educative Pastoral Community" where the educative relationship is synonymous with openness, welcoming, building together the future reality of the young person. Together young people and educators (consecrated persons, lay people and families), carrying on the dream of an ever-new future.
For us, education also has a dimension of "global citizenship" "called to create an "ecological citizenship", which today makes us members of the "common home" of which we need to take care, and therefore also an education to an integral ecology, with a look of faith at creation and man's place in it, to become direct protagonists and builders of the common good and peace, respecting and building together in communication with all creation, the greatness and beauty of God's creatures, co-responsible in building the human sense of ecology - indispensable elements for the Global Compact on Education.
In this perspective we too, listening to the invitation of Pope Francis, want to let ourselves be questioned about the aims and methods with which we carry out our educative pastoral mission, renewing our passion for a more open and inclusive education, making young people dream of a future of happiness, here and in eternity. That is why we are here, too, to collaborate in a " Global Compact on Education" together with the Church and the people of good will with those dynamics that "give meaning to history and transform it in a positive way", for the good of the youth of today and tomorrow.
Tarcízio Morais, SDB
School and VET Office – Youth Ministry Department