Rome, Italy, 8 December 2020 -- We are happy that we already have the official commentary on the Strenna 2020 with the theme 'Good Christians and Upright Citizens' ('Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven', Matthew 6:10). We were happy to watch the 15 minute Strenna Video in English. Some EAO provinces have already started sharing the Strenna. Japan province is ready to release their own alternative 2020 Strenna poster and our translators are busy bringing the commentary and video into 13 languages in our region.
What makes this year Strenna so interesting for the Salesian Family in our EAO region is the attention the Rector Major gives to the multi-cultural and pluri-religious environment. The 30-page text of the commentary opens with two pages full of questions, that may trigger our commitment to Don Bosco's way of education.
Let us ponder the words of the 10th successor of Don Bosco:
"In the Provinces with a large non-Christian majority (other religions, agnostics or those indifferent to religion), this Strenna will be well received to the extent that it succeeds in offering some opportunity for reflection and some ideas for educational activity in settings that are 'non-Christian' or 'post-Christian'. How might it be possible to present this educational expression of Don Bosco in such a way that our non-Christian laity and young people can accept it, understand it, follow it and put it into practice?
In Don Bosco’s times, in the context of a society with a Christian majority, being socially useful was a sign of a genuine religious spirit.
On the other hand, nowadays in the 134 countries in the world in which the charism has spread we feel the need to maintain a balance in an attitude of openness and inclusion in the educational process 'for and with' non-Christian young people and laity, starting from the first proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ by means of the Preventive System that creates relationships, a family atmosphere in which education takes place and the faith is transmitted by osmosis.
It is necessary to take into account the pluri-cultural and the multi-religious settings of the 40 Salesian Provinces which are living in minority Churches among the great religions of the world, especially in Asia and in Africa.
It is not enough to repeat what Don Bosco did in the nineteenth century. We have to learn from the experiences of the Salesians who today are living the Preventive System in countries that have a non-Christian majority. They certainly have a wealth of life experience in which they have learned how to interpret the thinking of Don Bosco in multi-religious and multi-cultural contexts which our Father could never even have imagined.
Good Christians and upright citizens in contexts with a non-Christian or post-Christian majority.
We can ask ourselves some specific questions:
- How do you put Don Bosco’s expression into practice with non-Christian youngsters and lay mission partners?
- How do you keep a balance between openness to non-Christians and the first proclamation of the Gospel?
- How do you translate the concept of the ‘good Christian’ for a majority of lay co-workers who are non-Christians?
- How do you put into practice the pillar of ‘Religion’ in the multi-religious contexts in which we find ourselves?
- How do you educate .. in the Spirituality of the Preventive System of Don Bosco: Reason – Religion - Loving Kindness?
- How do you translate into daily life the ‘good Christians’ of Don Bosco in the mission shared with so many non-Christians?
- Does the Rector Major believe that the Preventive System of Don Bosco can be fully lived out and put into practice also with lay co-workers of other religions?
- How do you include non-Christians in the Educative Pastoral Community (EPC)?
- What do these non-Christians who are involved in the Salesian educative mission themselves say?
- What are the most attractive elements/expressions of the practice of the Preventive System of Don Bosco?
I think that during my development of the Strenna you will find some suggestions that respond in one way or another to these questions that have been sent to me, and that are obviously more than legitimate."
This year Rector Major's Strenna is a precious opportunity for growth in our true and integral Salesian educational commitment, where faith and life are in harmony, at the heart of Don Bosco's charism. Don't miss this wonderful chance!