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By Br. Clarence Watts SDB (AFM)

       Colle Don Bosco, Turin, Italy, 24 April 2023 -- On Friday 14 April, the Salesian Family Delegates [31 in total] from the English-speaking provinces gathered at Colle Don Bosco to begin their course on various aspects of Salesian Family. Some of these topics to be covered included: Reflection on Don Bosco, founder of the vast charismatic movement called the Salesian Family, to explore the Salesian Family Charter of Identity, to emphasise the role of the Salesian Family delegate, to know the Salesian Family Groups and to share reflections and experiences from the Salesian sites.

       On the second day Fr. Giuseppe Casti presented the Salesian Movement: Laity in the mind and life of Don Bosco with focus on the ecclesial visibility of the Salesian presence as a movement, the culture of the Salesian family and aspects related to synodality.

       Mr. Bryan Magro [World President of EXA-DB] presented a brief overview of the Salesian Past Pupils. He emphasised on the mission of Past Pupils, which include values such as life, freedom and truth. The identity of the Past Pupil is gratitude and love towards Don Bosco. Bryan also pointed out the seven strategic activities that will guide the Salesian Past Pupils: Journey together, Salesian family, Spirituality, Communication, Solidarity, Mission [Africa as one of the priority areas] and focus on young past pupils.

       The delegates also had an opportunity to visit historic Salesian places around Colle Don Bosco such as birthplace of Don Bosco and his experience of family. Mr. Pierluigi Dovis then guided the delegates through his reflection The Laity in the Church and in Society which had some very powerful points for the delegates to reflect on. He emphasised the importance of respecting the role of the laity and not to see them as quasi-priests or substitute priests, but that they must be recognised for their role as lay people.

       Fr. Joan Lluis Playa gave an input on Salesian Family and Youth Ministry. There is a challenge for greater collaboration between Salesian Family and Youth Ministry at various levels especially in the area of accompanying the young.

       The Salesian Family Delegates Course concluded with mass on 20 April in the basilica of Don Bosco. Over the course of the five days, the delegates were spiritually enriched with visits to the Salesian historical places at Valdocco, Colle Don Bosco, Mornese and Nizza Monferatto. These visits enabled the delegates to experience moments of touching the living history of the Salesian family.

       In outlining the service of animation and accompaniment in the Salesian Family, Fr. Joan Lluis Playa pointed out “that without the others, the members of a particular group cannot be themselves” Building relationships within the Salesian Family is also seen as key in animation.

       The delegates also had an opportunity to listen to Fr. Pascual Chavez who reflected deeper on the Charter of the Charismatic Identity of the Salesian Family. Fr Chavez emphasized that “we are a spiritual Family and therefore it is the Spirit which is the foundation of our relationships with each other” He went on to point out that the Salesian family “Is made up of numerous brothers and sisters, each and every one having his/her own personality yet all remaining closely united with each other in fulfilling the mission of the Founder and Patriarch and all animated by his spirit”.

       The final day of the course was animated by Fr. Pierluigi Cameroni, Postulator for the Causes of Saints, and he reflected on Holiness in the Salesian Family. He pointed out the following: Sanctity is the ultimate goal of our lives and our pastoral work. Holiness unites the Salesian Family and without sanctity we impoverish the Salesian Family. Our sanctity flows from the heart of Don Bosco. Holiness of everyday life makes communion flourish and generates relationships. Holiness represents the incarnation of the charism and helps to live the Salesian spirit in a realistic way.

       At the end of the mass on the last day, Fr. Joan Playa asked the delegates What will you take away from this Salesian Family Delegates course? These were some of the responses:

  • The dynamism of the Salesian family is in my hands.
  • Salesian charism and spirit.
  • Hope.
  • Love for Don Bosco and love for Salesian Family.
  • The humble beginnings of our congregation is the way to holiness.
  • Vision of Don Bosco.
  • Being rooted in Jesus and Mary.
  • Gratitude for the gift of the Salesian vocation.
  • Lively memories and spirituality of Don Bosco.
  • Richness our Salesian charism, and that it is meant for all.
  • Sense of belonging.
  • The enrichment to see Don Bosco in the world.
  • Resolution to bring the Salesian Family together.
  • Optimism for the youth today.
  • Working together for evangelization.
  • The sense of family and Don Bosco’s dreams for our groups.
  • The freshness of the salesianita.
  • The greatness of the Salesian family in mission and holiness.
  • Variety, joy and wealth of the Salesian Family.
  • The gift of the Spirit throughout the world.
  • Don Bosco’s charismatic presence in the world.
  • Be another Don Bosco today, and work together.
  • Journeying together towards the path that leads to love, love for Jesus, Mary and Don Bosco.
  • Collaborating with God’s dream.

 

 

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