EAO Good Night Talk
Dili, Timor Leste
February 1, 2018
Why are the Salesians not listening to the Young?
Dear Friends and Salesian Family members,
Receive my heartfelt greetings from Dili, Timor Leste, where we celebrated yesterday the Feast Day of Don Bosco with his 10th Successor, Fr. Ángel F. Artime and the whole Salesian Family in this young country. But my mind flies back to Valdocco: just few days ago the Rector Major presided in Turin the 36th Salesian Family Spirituality Days with almost 400 participants belonging to 22 Salesian Family groups and coming from all five continents.
We listened to many good speakers, but the highlight was to open forum with the young. They told us clearly: “Dear Salesian, don’t’ be tired, we need you always!”
Most of you have already received the Strenna 2018 in your own language, some provinces or communities have already watched together (or even with the Salesian Family) the 15 minutes Strenna video with the narrative of the Rector Major. The Strenna of 2018 is a true charismatic challenge for the whole Salesian Family. I’m sure, that also in each single Salesian Family work in the EAO region the young people – children, adolescents, youngsters or young adults – plead us the same: ‘Dear Salesians – Brothers, Sisters, Fathers, Teachers … listen to us!”
Fr. Ángel tells us clearly: "They are young people who request our help to continue to grow and mature in their faith. And there are many others who do not ask it explicitly, but who feel a great need for a personal encounter and for being listened to. There are many who would be willing to take a personal and group path of accompaniment or vocational discernment.
So I ask myself: ‘What are we waiting for? Why do we not decide to be much more available to accompany all our young people in what is most important to their lives? What is holding us back? Why "are we busy" or why "are we wasting time" in other things, when this is a real priority for education and evangelization?’ [Strenna commentary 2018]
During the four days at Valdocco last January, I have been praying in the holy places of Don Bosco: “Good Lord, help us to waste more time with the young people and listen to them, like our Father Don Bosco!” Let’s encourage each other to listen to the young: in the confession, in the playground, in the group sharing, with an open heart - always happy to ‘waste time’.
Yours in Don Bosco
Fr. Václav Klement, SDB
EAO Regional councillor