The third edition of 'The Salesian Rector' (2019)
is finally almost completely available now
in the hands of numerous translators
for publishing in the main SDB world languages.
THE SALESIAN RECTOR
for the animation and governing
of the local community
FOREWORD - RECTOR MAJOR
My dear confreres,
32 years after the last Manual of the Salesian Rector, I am happy to present to you a new version, revised at the behest of GC27. I can assure you that it is the fruit of consultation among all our provinces and regions, and of much hard work, not least in the General Council itself.
Our Rectors are key figures in the renewal of the Congregation and of our ministry for young people in the educative and pastoral community. They are the key to the much desire ongoing formation that must take place in our religious communities, and by extension also in our educative and pastoral communities. This manual is therefore addressed primarily to them – and to all those who are involved in their formation, beginning from provincials and their councils.
But this new manual is addressed also to all Salesians and to all the members of each Salesian religious community. The Rector is defined in our Constitutions as brother among brothers, and this is how the Church wants it to be, when it calls us to stress the dynamic of fraternity while not neglecting the duty of governance. This is one of the great gifts that Pope Francis is bringing to the Church: the practice of community discernment as a way of animating and governing that arises from the deep conviction that we are brothers, that we are called to communion, that the Spirit has been given to each and every baptised member of Christ’s faithful.
You will see in it a great attention first of all to our identity: all of us, Brother-Salesians or Priest-Salesians, are first of all Salesian consecrated persons – and the Rector is first and foremost guardian of this identity, responsible for promoting vocational growth in the community and in the confreres entrusted to him. He is, like Don Bosco, a man who is deeply in love with Jesus Christ, our living Rule, whose way of life he tries to reproduce, uniting his brothers in the service of the Father, with the wonderful combination of humility, realism and faith that comes from the Spirit.
The other great emphasis comes from what is perhaps the most significant development in our history since Vatican II: the clear affirmation that the Salesian spirit and mission are shared with lay people. The Rector and the Salesian community today, therefore, are part of the animating nucleus of the educative and pastoral community. Within this nucleus they have, of course, a special responsibility for fidelity to the charism: they are the ‘charismatic point of reference’ in the words of GC25. The Salesian of today is, therefore, called to be first and foremost animator of those with whom he shares the charism. And, in order to do this, he needs to live his consecrated vocation with a transparent and contagious joy.
To all of you, therefore, my dear confreres, I offer this gift, this effort to bring together all the developments in the Church and in our Congregation of the last 30 years or so. May Mary, our mother and teacher, help us to grow into the fullness of our consecration, that we might be ever more credible signs and bearers of God’s love to the young.
Affectionately in Don Bosco,
Ángel Fernández Artime
Sacro Cuore – Rome,
Easter Sunday, 21 April 2019