Towards the Salesian 'penance' amidst the young
Turin, Valdocco, 21 February 2020 -- On the last of the 3 spirituality days, all GC28 members received a wonderful gift - the unexpected visit of Cardinal Oscar Andres Maradiaga (Honduras), who presided at the noon Votive Mass to the Holy Spirit on 21 February.
We share here some substantial notes taken in English from his homily in Spanish:
"To celebrate the Eucharist to the Holy Spirit is an act of faith as Don Bosco did. We are asking for His wisdom to respond to the needs of the young people today. General Chapter 28 is a time to seek the plan of God as a Congregation.
First reading (letter of James) is one of the favourite readings of Don Bosco, since he was very practical in living his faith – and keeping in mind how to help effectively the abandoned working youth of Turin in the streets and prisons.
Don Bosco tried to educate the young people in need as upright citizens. Today even ordinary ‘upright citizenship’ is in crisis due to strong individualism as our main enemy, also affecting consecrated Salesians.
We heard and believe that witness is the most important thing today. And our witness is rooted in faith, like the faith of Abraham our father in faith.
When I was a Don Bosco school student (in Honduras), my confessor in our school was a senior Salesian. Everybody was looking to meet him since he was considered a friend by all.
Letter of James: It’s important for our communities as model and motivation: We are called to be friends of God to become the friends of the young people!
Today for us there is no need to search for the Cross (Gospel of Mark 8,34-9.1: Anyone who loses his life for my sake will save it). For us Salesians today the ‘Cross’ is to stay among the young people as our ‘penance’ – to be in their midst and we need a lot of patience for this!
I was deeply impressed by the forgiveness of Francis Pope to that Chinese lady who grabbed his hands on 31 December 2019. Also we are called to grow in patience and asking forgiveness like Pope Francis.
Today our true cross is our commitment. Also this General Chapter 28 is a ‘Cross’ for you.
We need to carry it with love. It’s like the renewal of the Universal Church, like with the document of ‘Pastor Bonus’ (Editor's note: Pope's document on Bishops – Reform of the Church). Yes, we look for the future of the Catholic Church as instruments of God.
We follow Don Bosco, who felt himself to be a humble instrument of God, for the salvation of the young people around the world.
We celebrate the Eucharist in the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians. Yes, we believe, that ‘She did everything…’. We entrust to Mary our GC28 adventure. With Mary we would be able to find courageous response for the young of today. Together with Her is possible to find the path: Let’s say together the prayer:
We fly to thy patronage, O holy Mother of God; despise not our petitions in our necessities, but deliver us always from all dangers, O glorious and blessed Virgin. Amen."
After the Eucharist and lunch the Cardinal on the way to his Valdocco room met two of our EAO delegates by chance - daily football players with the Valdocco school kids. From the Basilica to the Playground - with the Salesian spirit - wonderful witness to the rest of the General Chapter!