RMG, 19 December 2022 -- The challenge of vocational accompaniment for young people is a worldwide one. Also in many of the 'classical' Salesian aspirantates with hundreds of young people who live with the Salesians under one roof, almost no candidates are joining our pre-novitiates or other formation houses. The formation of Salesians to master the 'Art of Accompaniment' is very much requested. After 11 years the Salesian Congregation is offering a renewed set of 'Guidelines for Vocation Accompaniment' in the recent 'Acts of the General Council' (no. 438) - a joint document by two sectors - Formation and Youth Ministry, presented by the two respective General Councillors - Fr Ivo Coelho and Fr Miguel Angel Garcia.
The 12-page article follows the previous 'Orientations' released in 2011 by then General Councillors for Formation and for Youth Ministry, Fr Francesco Cereda and Fr Fabio Attard: 'Guidelines for the Aspirantate Experience'. It was a response to the General Chapter 26, no.73 (2008). After 11 years we have in our hands an updated version:
1. The purpose of this document
2. Vocational guidance in Congregation documents after Vatican II
3. Various expressions of a single definition ('Aspirantate')
4. Origin of candidates
5. Some aspects of the entry profile
6. The formation path of accompaniment and discernment
7. The appropriate environment provided by Salesian house
8. Times and approaches of vocation proposal
9. Vocation ministry in the province
These few pages are not just for Aspirants and Vocation ministry-related confreres due to their current mission and obedience in 110 'Salesian Aspirantates' (11 located in the EAO region, 2021), but for all Salesians involved in ministry and for the provincial animation and governance teams.
The two General Councillors end their Guidelines with a simple consideration: "We firmly believe... vocation guidance properly carried out is the sure way to full human maturity and the sources of true happiness... Today more than ever we feel the challenge and urgency of “creating a vocational culture in every environment, so that young people discover life as a call, and so that all Salesian ministry becomes truly vocational” (GC24, 50). In this respect the vocational dimension really does run across everything we offer. Although it presents itself with its own specific project, it represents the core of every pastoral proposal and must therefore be present in every environment. With regard to Salesian consecrated life, we believe it is urgent to offer young people these experiences of vocational guidance that ignite desire and guide the heart. "
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