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By Our Own Correspondent

Valdocco, Italy, 10 January 2019 -- Although not all of the 360 official participants and support staff of the 2019 Salesian Family Spirituality Days have arrived in Turin as yet, the four day program began on schedule at 4:45 p.m. in the Grand Valdocco Theatre.

After the official greeting by Fr Enrico Stasi (SDB provincial of ICP, hosting province), Fr Eusebio Munoz (Delegate of the RM for the Salesian Family), the late afternoon program introduced the Strenna 2019 'Holiness For You Too" (So that my joy may be in you - John 15:11).

The Dance group 'Adonai' presented the theme with their dances and music in a vibrant way and then came the 19 minute official Strenna 2019 Video shown in Italian.

It came time for the Rector Major to highlight the main focus of this year's Strenna with a power point presentation: Fr Ángel explained the meaning and background of the Strenna 2019, beginning with the 2018 World Advisory Council (aka 'Consulta') meeting of the Salesian Family, when most of the leaders suggested the theme of ‘Holiness’. Among the short comments emerged one challenging question: 'How is it that so many saints were living in the nearby small Pinardi house at Valdocco?' - Not only Saint John Bosco, but also Blessed Michael Rua, Saint Dominic Savio, Blessed Variara and later on as students also St Aloysius Versiglia, St Callistus Caravario and many other holy figures of the Salesian Congregation ... It's about a whole 'school of holiness'!

Then quoting the recent sharing among major superiors, the successor of Don Bosco shared one touching appeal from youth shared by another Congregation's superior: "We don’t need your works, we don’t need to hear what to do or what not to do, but we need only one thing: we need to see in your faces that what you say is true! We need to see your joy and happiness that witness what you say to us during ordinary days.”

The first day concluded after supper in the theatre at Valdocco with a presentation of each of the current 20 SF groups, evening prayer and a goodnight.

Among the more than 300 participants is a record number of EAO Salesian Family members thanks to the 15 Caritas Sisters of Jesus (Philippines, Japan, Korea, Bolivia and Brasil), two SDB (Timor Leste, Vietnam), two SIHM Sisters (Thailand) and one FMA (Vietnam).

Even if you are not able to join the Rector Major in Turin, you can follow most of the SF Spirituality days on and LIVE streaming on the ANS Facebook pages.

So far the official Strenna 2019 Video is available on the internet only in two EAO languages - in Korean and in Burmese (Myanmar).

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