Every ten years or so, Salesian Italy meets to reflect on the pastoral health of its oratories and youth centers, in order not to waste the treasure left as a legacy by Don Bosco. This year's edition, in particular, was designed in the light of the ecclesial renewal inaugurated by the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, and with a view to provoking a rethinking and re-launching of the Salesian youth oratories, so that, as new Valdoccos, they are places of youthful protagonism and evangelization carried out and fulfilled by young people for other young people.
The seminar was developed with an interactive and articulated methodology, which provided with expert reports, presentation of good practices and group work, as well as moments of shared spirituality, of fraternity and also a visit to the oratory, symbolic of Palermo, the "Santa Chiara", located in the working-class district of Ballarò.
On the first day, Fr Michal Vojtas, SDB, Extraordinary Professor of Salesian History and Pedagogy at the Salesian Pontifical University (UPS), offered a charismatic historical reading of the oratory-youth center; while prof. Johnny Dotty, social entrepreneur, educator and lecturer at the Catholic University of Milan, presented the summary of the results that emerged through the questionnaire previously created by the National Office for Parishes and Oratories to photograph and map young people between 18 and the 28 years present in the Salesian oratories in Italy.
On the second day, Fr Michele Falabretti, Head of the National Service for Youth Ministry of the Italian Episcopal Conference, gave his vision on the current state of the oratory at the national level; then, after the presentation of six good practices, representative of the different provincial realities and of different pastoral areas, Fr Sala, professor of Youth Ministry at the UPS and Synodal Father at the last two Synods of Bishops convened by Pope Francis, led a reflection to interpret the stimuli that reach oratory directors from the Synod on Youth and today's status.
Finally, on the third and final day, the work was summarized, with a focus on the aforementioned seven words. Words that do not constitute a document, but "a reminder for us, because we are the first witnesses of what we have experienced. Our task will be to create other similar experiences where we are, locally," said Fr Silvio Zanchetta, Coordinator of the National Parish and Oratories Office during the concluding statements.
For more information, visit the seminar page, where you can review the reports (and download the documents), the homilies and the photos.