A festive and familiar atmosphere it was right from the start of the event, which in the spirit of the holy founder, St. John Bosco, united the many representatives of the Salesian Family groups.
With the Rector Major were Fr Enrico Stasi, Provincial of Piedmont and Valle d'Aosta, and Fr Eusebio Muñoz, the Rector Major's Delegate for the Salesian Family, both of whom also addressed a word of encouragement and welcome to all.
In his greeting Fr Stasi spoke of how Valdocco is not only the home of the Salesians and the Salesians of Piedmont, but of the entire Salesian Family. "Anyone among the sons of Don Bosco must feel, entering the walls of Valdocco and within the walls of the Basilica, like a son who returns home," he said.
Fr Muñoz, for his part, remarked how the Salesian Family, right from the start, is called to live, from these very first days of spirituality, the message that the Rector Major has left on the Strenna. "During this time together, we can better understand how the mutual listening among the different groups of the Salesian Family is the secret to living the atmosphere of family and fidelity to the mission of the holy founder," he said.
At the center of this first day was the Rector Major’s presentation of the annual Strenna. Listening and accompaniment, reciprocal among the various Salesian Family groups and the recipients of the Salesian mission: simple and ancient words that also recall the origins of the pastoral activity of St. John Bosco.
Words able to inspire the assembly, which responded via a lively and pleasant exchange of questions in the moment of sharing with Fr Á.F. Artime.
The convivial moments, the fraternal dinner, and the evening’s common allowed participants to begin that journey of befriending and knowing members of the many various groups: some meeting old friends from past experiences, but also entirely new acquaintances; in sum, Valdocco was filled with that festive air of the original oratory.
Also noteworthy, the paternal message of the Good Night: "Against any disillusionment and pessimism, look with Faith to yourselves, to your pastoral mission and to the journey of the Church. It is a gaze of hope and joy. Against every false triumphalism, this is the gaze, the vision, the world needs today. It is we who, in the small field of our world, must sow this gaze."
There are also many volunteers involved in organizing the event, people who with passion and devotion have dedicated themselves - and will continue doing so in the forthcoming days - to ensuring that the gathering is an important moment for the entire Salesian Family in the growth in, and of, the charism of Don Bosco; more specifically in the art of listening and accompanying the young.
The event can be followed live on the Facebook page of the Salesian iNfo Agency.