Strenna 2020 - Good Christians and Upright Citizens
Rector Major's official Strenna 2020 Commentary
2020 Strenna ENG US.pdf (American English)
Salesian Family Spirituality Days (2020, Valdocco)
Rector Major's presentation: July 24, 2019 - 6 pages
strenna_2020-text open-EN.docx (ENGLISH)
Strenna 2020 - English text (Video - 15 minutes)
Strenna Video 2020 ‘GOOD CHRISTIANS and UPRIGHT CITIZENS’
‘Which one of you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them,
does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and
go after the one that is lost until he finds it?
When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders and rejoices.’
Rector Major: “There were many lost sheep in the city in Don Bosco’s time.
Fr Cafasso, ever his friend, had told him: ‘Go and look around you.’
Don Bosco learned how to discover the poverty and wretchedness
on the outskirts of the cities.
‘Right from those early Sundays,’ Fr Michael Rua would testify
‘he went through the city to get an idea of the moral circumstances of the young people.’
He was disturbed by it.
suburbs were seedbeds of unrest and revolution, a ring of desolation.
Teenagers were wandering around the streets, jobless, sad, ready to do their worst.
‘He met a huge number of boys of every age,’ Fr Rua’s testimony continues
‘who were wandering about the streets and squares,
especially in the inner city areas, playing, fighting, swearing
and doing even worse things.’
One day, while visiting the prisons, he could not hold back his tears.
They noticed it.
‘Why is that priest weeping?’ ‘My mother would weep too, if she could see me here.’
Today, the Salesian Family is a mother who weeps over her children.
The situation has not changed.
The massacre of the innocents continues: it is a catastrophe of souls.
As it was in Don Bosco’s day, for too many youngsters the world’s doors remain closed.
The heavens above them are also closed. The stars in the heavens are not shining,
no horizons lie before them
and they have no roots backing them to give them the strength to resist.
‘We will always be friends, right?’ These were Don Bosco’s first words,
the first door thrown open to the young: the door to his heart.
The future begins with us with that first step, like a prophecy, just as a river begins with the first drop of water, or the night with the first of the stars.
‘Providence only knows human beings who are on the move’,
people who have stood up and are on the move in the trust
and hope they offer God and their tomorrow.
Go out and meet them: this is our call, ‘to recognise the beauty hidden in every
human being, in their dignity, their greatness as an image of God and
as children of the Father. The Holy Spirit is urging us to go out of ourselves, to embrace others lovingly and seek their good.
This is why it is always better to live our faith together and
express our love in a community style of life, sharing our affection, our time, our faith
and our doubts with other young people.
Because everything is easier when we do it together.’
Because young people are crying out today.
They are crying out because nobody is listening to them.
Nobody seems interested in the ‘real’ problems they have: the meaning of life,
lack of opportunities or education, finding work…
All they have in front of them is some cursed wall or just so many people
who are just one more brick in that wall of ‘just be patient and make do… ‘
Like Don Bosco, let us open a breech in that wall and listen to what they are saying:
‘Why do I have to go away? I want to stay here in my city!’
‘I want an opportunity for real work!’
‘I want to be able to make decisions about my life!’
‘I want a real life, not that of an avatar!’
‘I want someone who asks me what I think!’
‘I want friends, true love and someone who will listen to me!’
‘I want a more just and sympathetic world!’
‘I want flesh and blood friends, and not just web links!’
‘I want to be happy!’
There is a justice and a citizenship that young people are becoming prophets of. One that goes beyond all borders. There is a citizenship of the world as our common home, and of the future.
One thing became immediately clear to Don Bosco: there is only one way to change the world, education.
A strong and complete education, one that opens the doors to life and the gates of heaven.
We cannot be afraid.
Let us break down the wall of indifference and allow the power of the Spirit to break in.
Including if we have to roam streets where the earth has been reduced to silence beneath asphalt and cement.
We should not sell our ears. Nor should we sell our souls any longer.
We must rejuvenate, and find eyes to see creation and what is yet to be created.
As well as the strength and courage to say ‘enough’. Enough of poverty, hunger, inequality, exploitation of the earth, the merciless marketplace and its people.
We need to guarantee full and productive and dignified work for everyone.
And above all we need to form credible leaders and guides for the future.
This means starting over again.
And there is always a mother at every beginning.
Don Bosco presented Her to his boys as the Immaculate, the simple woman filled with kindness who joyfully lived out the plan God had for her. He presented Her also as the Helper, the loving Mother, concerned that all Her sons and daughters would fully live the dream that God has for each of them.
EAO experience collection (September 2019)
Braido Pietro (Ricerche Storiche Salesiane, 1992)