SYM Philippines National Assembly Days 2018: Fr. Fabio Meets SYM Philippines Youth
Rev. Vince Michael Sabal SDB
The Salesian Youth Movement gathered at Don Bosco College-Canlubang from April 10 to 14, 2018 for the National Assembly Days. It was attended by youth leaders, animators together with some Salesians priests, brothers, and sisters. The event was guided by the theme, “Ablaze” inspired by the Scripture passage from Luke 24:32. The objective of the gathering was to come up with an organizational identity, vision, and mission with an aim of having a one Salesian Youth Movement-Philippines composed of three different provinces: FIN, FIS, and the FMA.
During the last day of the gathering, Fr. Fabio Attard, SDB, General Councilor for Youth Ministry of the Salesians of Don Bosco came over the meet the delegates of the said event. The encounter started with a song-prayer led by the aspirants and prenovices of the Don Bosco Prenovitiate House in Canlubang. A video recap of the events that transpired during the National Assembly Days was shown and was followed by a summary given by the youth leaders of the three provinces. Then Fr Fabio shared his message to everyone present. He started off by talking about the Synod of Bishops convoked by Pope Francis on Young People: Faith and Vocational Discernment. Fr. Fabio challenged the young people that if one encounters the Lord Jesus and have a relationship with Him they cannot remain static. These people who are touched by the Lord are moved to ask in prayer on what they can do for Him. The challenge on vocational discernment is not only limited to priestly and religious life but also towards married and single-blessed life. Fr. Fabio encouraged everyone to have a spiritual director in order to facilitate their listening to God and to have someone to guide them. He also encouraged the Salesian Youth Movement to become a venue where young people experience joy and happiness that is a holy one.
After the talk, an open forum was held with one of the youth leaders, Chinggay Farrarons from FIS, asked a question related to creating an atmosphere of welcome and openness to young people from other Christian denominations and faith. To answer the question, Fr. Fabio shared about his missionary experience in Tunisia which is a non-Christian country and how he dealt with the youth there and applying the Preventive System to them. He quoted article 38 of the Salesian Constitutions and highlighted these words, “we encounter the young at their present stage of freedom.” Thus there is the reality of accompaniment and witnessing for these young people so that they will be led to look for meaning in their life. After the encounter with the delegates, the whole event ended with the celebration of the Holy Mass presided over by Fr. Fabio together with fellow Salesian priests.