ADMA and DB Alumni
By Fr. Savio Angel Sanchez, PGS
Photo by Bro. Benedict Baek (KOR)
Rome, Italy, 22 September 2019 -- The Past Pupils and ADMA were the focus of the discussions and reflection in the last full day of the World Meeting of Provincial Delegates for the Salesian Family. The resource persons were no less than the Heads of these groups. Mr. Michal Hort is the President of the World Confederation of the Don Bosco Past Pupils and Mr. Renato Valera is the President of ADMA.
The Past Pupils is the biggest group in the Salesian Family. Next year, 24 June 2020 is the 150th anniversary of the founding of this group. More than the other groups in the Salesian Family, the Past Pupils is the one that has more ‘inactive’ members. It has been observed that after 18 years of age, the Past Pupils are somehow “lost.” It is only when they are in their 30s, when they have more or less already settled down, that they slowly come back. Some Provincial Delegates for the Salesian Family are also the Provincial Delegates for the Past Pupils. In many provinces, it is really difficult to ‘organise’ the Past Pupils. Very often, they are more like “Friends of Don Bosco” rather than Past Pupils of Don Bosco in the strict sense because of little involvement or inactivity. Mr. Michal expressed the need to find ways to attract the Past Pupils and to address their situations and needs. It is good to note that in the Salesian Family, the Past Pupils of Don Bosco is the only group that also admits non-Catholics and non-Christians. Speaking from the heart, Michal Hort told the assembly: “The Salesian I admire most is the one who spends most of his time for souls rather than for management.”
The third Session of the day was about ADMA. This group is celebrating this year its 150th anniversary of foundation. Mr. Renato Valera pointed out that even if very often ADMA is seen as a merely pious association or devotional group whose members are mainly old women, male and female youth as early as 18 years old can already join the Association. It is also the Association’s aim to be able to penetrate families where devotion to the Eucharist and Mary, charity towards the poorest youth, and a Christian environment could be instilled. Mary’s evangelical attitudes encapsulated in her Fiat, Magnificat and Stabat are for the members of this Association important elements of their spirituality. To this, the Provincial Delegate for the Salesian Family of Australia, Fr Elio Capra suggested to add “Facite” (from the Gospel episode of the Miracle at the Wedding at Cana) to bring in the aspect of mission and sharing in the ministry of Jesus.
Fr Raphael Jayapalan, the World Delegate for the Past Pupils, explained what the Council of the Salesian Family is all about both at the Provincial and local level. One of the points that was discussed at length was regarding the SDB’s role as animating nucleus and their particular responsibility towards the Salesian Cooperators, Past Pupils of Don Bosco, ADMA, VDB and CDB. To date, the Secretariat for the Salesian Family has not been able to find yet the right English equivalent of the term “Consulta” which is sometimes translated as Council or Consultative Committee.
The fourth Session was handled by Fr Giuseppe Casti who assisted the Provincial Delegates for the Salesian Family to make a synthesis of the whole week and see the Salesian Family within the bigger umbrella of the Salesian Movement. In the afternoon, the assembly divided into working groups to discuss and come up with proposals for goals, processes and interventions for the coming years. Four Areas were considered: The Spiritual and Pastoral Legacy of Don Bosco, Sense of Belonging to the Salesian Family, Sanctity in the Salesian Family, and Animation of the Salesian Family by the SDBs.
The last session of the day was spent in giving feedback, suggestions and evaluation of the whole program. On the whole, the Provincial Delegates for the Salesian Family are happy and grateful for this encounter that has surely enriched them and helped them understand the important role they have been entrusted with in their respective Provinces. The hard work of the Secretariat for the SF was also appreciated. Fr Eusebio Muñoz concluded with a word of gratitude for the contribution and collaboration of everyone.
Some Provincial Delegates for the Salesian Family in EAO distributed some souvenirs. Fr Matthew Chan of Hong Kong gave away hand-made rosaries. Fr Francis Cais of Thailand gave away bookmarks. Fr Orlando Borres of Philippines-South brought bottles of rum, packets of cashew nuts, and sweets which were all shared at dinner.
We hope that the energized and formed SF delegates will share this wisdom back in our 12 EAO provinces.
We need the link between Salesian Family and Youth Ministry
The Successor of Don Bosco talks to the SF Delegates
By Fr. Savio Angel Sanchez, SDB
Photo by Bro. Benedict Baek (KOR)
Rome, Italy, 21 September 2019 -- On the 3rd day (Saturday 21 September) of the Salesian Family Delegates meeting in Rome, Fr Albert Johnson, the SF Coordinator for the South Asia Region was main celebrant at the Mass and also preached the homily, highlighting the role of the laity in the Church and in the Salesian Family and the need for us to recognise that.
Today’s sessions were about Youth Ministry and Formation in relation to the Salesian Family. Since Fr Fabio Attard, the General Councilor for Youth Ministry could not be present in person, a video message was presented. Among other things, Fr Fabio invited the Provincial Delegates for the Salesian Family to reflect on their experience of being accompanied themselves, and the challenges of accompanying young people to discover their vocation. Fr Raphael Jayapalan and Fr Giuseppe Casti took turns in explaining a paper entitled “Youth Ministry and Salesian Family, Challenges and Prospectives” prepared by Fr Patrick Anthonyraj Alexander of the Youth Ministry Department. There was group work in which proposals were discussed as regards working together with Youth Ministry Delegates. Among the proposals that were drawn from the groups were the following: “Let the YM Delegate be a member of the SF Consulta; Let the The SF Delegate be a member of the Provincial Council; The Salesian Family can provide on-going adult formation to the recipients of Youth Ministry and invite them to be members of the Salesian Family groups.”
In the 2nd Session, Fr Silvio Roggia of the Formation Department gave a presentation on “Formation in the Congregation and the Salesian Family.” One of the points explained was the fact that “the formation of the Salesians of Don Bosco and in particular initial formation, is still in ‘exodus mode’ as regards joint formation of SDB and lay people or Salesian Family groups.” Fr Silvio challenged the Provincial Delegates for the Salesian Family that they “have the empowerment to be ‘game changer’ agents, making a new wind to blow in.”
The rest of the afternoon and the evening were moments for the participants to visit some meaningful places in Rome: Basilica of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme where relics of the Cross and the passion of Christ can be found, Basilica of Santa Prassede, and the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore.
The final destination was the Sacro Cuore (Sacred Heart, new General House) where the English Group of Provincial Delegates for the Salesian Family had the souvenir photo with the Rector Major, Fr Angel Fernandez. In a very lively manner, Br Cosimo Cossu guided and animated the participants. Everyone gathered at Don Bosco’s rooms where he stayed during his last visit in Rome and in the chapel, where he wrote the famous “Letter from Rome” in 1884. The lively stories of Don Bosco continued for almost one hour.
Then everyone proceeded to the hall to listen to the Fr. Angel, who spoke from his heart about his impressions and convictions regarding the Salesian Family in the world. The Rector Major emphasised that “ours is a beautiful Congregation… and that the Salesian Family is vibrant and has grown these past years.”
The 10th successor of Don Bosco continued: "We are therefore challenged to work together for unity because we only have one father, Don Bosco. We are committing a ‘charismatic sin’, if we are not united and do not take care of the rich patrimony we have received from Don Bosco." After his passionate talk continued a lively Question & Answer session with Fr. Angel, which was beautifully concluded with a “Hail Mary” and a blessing from the Rector Major himself.