My dear confrere,
greetings, and greetings to my dear friends and members of the Salesian Family,
I greet you with real affection, here today, from the General Council meeting room. We have finished this summer session. All the members of the Council are already moving around their region or engaged in various services, and I have remained alone here. I would like to take this opportunity of a pause in our work, where we also give thought to the Salesian Family around the world and the worldwide Congregation, to greet you in what will certainly be the final 'cari confratelli', because at the end of the year there will be the Strenna addressed to all of you in our Salesian world.
So I would like to greet you today and at the same share two points with you that I find to be very beautiful and that I have very much at heart.
The first is this. All the results of the Provincial Chapters from around the world have already arrived and we find a voice, a strong cry from our young people, boys and girls around the world coming through these Chapters. What do they tell us? They say to us 'Dear Salesians, we need you. Dear Salesians we need your presence. We need you to walk with us, find you alongside us. We don't have much need to have you as managers and administrators. We need your presence as friends, brothers, and at times, fathers.' And I ask myself, all of you my dear people, do we need other words to know what is the right direction for us to take at the moment? I think not. There is no need for other words.
The second point is the Strenna. You already have received an outline of what I would like to develop. And later, I will respond to this title, this idea. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. And then that pairing of ideas which is so Salesian: Good Christians and upright citizens.
Why this motto for the Strenna? They are two sides of something that is hugely relevant. We have accompanied the Church, Pope Francis with the family, and then with the young, and now this Salesian pairing: Good Christians, because Don Bosco carried in his heart this passion of helping his boys find Jesus in their lives. Without this he would not be Don Bosco. Without this we are not Salesians.
And secondly, in a world where everyone is saying something them, do we tell our young people, 'you should play in the oratory, and that's enough'? No, the true politics of the Our Father today are telling us how can we walk with our young people and get them to understand that they have a responsibility in this world, that they have power and responsibility in society; get them to understand that social and political commitment is possible, that this is not something for others and that we Christians are for the sacristy - no, this is not the way.
We are to help the young to understand that where there is defence of the rights of minors we are there to be with them, and so it is for so many other elements of our Salesian reality.
Good then, this is the reality we have and it is a call to take this passion for education and for the young seriously. Even these bells at Sacro Cuore [he hears the bells in the background as he speaks] are an invitation telling us that today we have something beautiful to say.