Welcome from the Salesian Family of Canada and the eastern United States!
THE YOUNG EVANGELIZED AND EVANGELIZING – DON BOSCO’S DREAM OF THE TWO COLUMNS
MARRIED AND SINGLE LAY MEMBERS OF THE FAMILY – THE SALESIAN COOPERATORS
WE ARE ONE FAMILY, ALL BELONGING TO MARY
SALESIANS OF DON BOSCO – PRIESTS AND BROTHERS
AS THE ENTIRE SALESIAN FAMILY, THE DAUGHTERS OF MARY HELP OF CHRISTIANS ARE UNITED AROUND THE HOLY FATHER!
THE BASILICA OF MARY HELP OF CHRISTIANS AT VALDOCCO, THE ORATORY OF ST. FRANCIS DE SALES, IN TORINO, ITALY
CELEBRATING IN MIAMI AS FAMILY UNITED BY DON BOSCO’S SPIRIT
Don Bosco Salesian Portal is the website of St. John Bosco’s Salesian Family of the eastern United States and Canada. It is meant to be a “clearing house” for all things Salesian according to the “Oratory Criteria” of school, church, home, and playground and the “meeting hub” for all of us in the Family. It is sponsored by the Salesian Family Consulta of St. Philip the Apostle Province. On it, one can find: links to sites providing a plethora of information on Don Bosco, his writings, his charism, mission, and spirituality; links to the Groups, Movements, and Associations comprising his Salesian Family; a calendar of major Church and Family events; an interactive map of our presences here; quick links to numerous Church and Salesian sites and their publications, news, and media – especially as concerns the young and all that affects them and their salvation; a space to interact with other members of the Family through blog posts and our Facebook, Twitter, Linked-In, and g+ pages; contact information regarding a Salesian Vocation and/or for volunteering with us; links to purchase Salesian items; a central location to find and to share valuable resources; and much more… Please check out our “About” page for information regarding use of the Don Bosco Salesian Portal. Enjoy!
Holy Father’s Message for Lent 2017
The following is the full text of the Holy Father Francis’ message for Lent 2017 on the theme “The Word is a gift. Other persons are a gift”.
Dear Brothers and Sisters, Lent is a new beginning, a path leading to the certain goal of Easter, Christ’s victory over death. This season urgently calls us to conversion. Christians are asked to return to God “with all their hearts” (Joel 2:12), to refuse to settle for mediocrity and to grow in friendship with the Lord. Jesus is the faithful friend Who never abandons us. Even when we sin, He patiently awaits our return; by that patient expectation, He shows us His readiness to forgive (cf. Homily, 8 January 2016). Lent is a favourable season for deepening our spiritual life through the means of sanctification offered us by the Church: fasting, prayer and almsgiving. At the basis of everything is the word of God, which during this season we are invited to hear and ponder more deeply. I would now like to consider the parable of the rich man and Lazarus (cf. Lk 16:19-31). Let us find inspiration in this meaningful story, for it provides a key to understanding what we need to do in order to attain true happiness and eternal life. It exhorts us to sincere conversion.
1. The other person is a gift The parable begins by presenting its two main characters. The poor man is described in detail: he is wretched and lacks the strength even to stand. Lying before the door of the rich man, he fed on the crumbs falling from his table. His body is full of sores and dogs come to lick his wounds (cf. vv. 20- 21). The picture is one of great misery; it portrays a man disgraced and pitiful. The scene is even more dramatic if we consider that the poor man is called Lazarus: a name full of promise, which literally means “God helps”. This character is not anonymous. His features are clearly delineated and he appears as an individual with his own story. While practically invisible to the rich man, we see and know him as someone familiar. He becomes a face, and as such, a gift, a priceless treasure, a human being whom God loves and cares for, despite his concrete condition as an outcast (cf. Homily, 8 January 2016). Lazarus teaches us that other persons are a gift. A right relationship with people consists in gratefully recognising their value. Even the poor person at the door of the rich is not a nuisance, but a summons to conversion and to change. The parable first invites us to open the doors of our heart to others because each person is a gift, whether it be our neighbour or an anonymous pauper. Lent is a favourable season for opening the doors to all those in need and recognising in them the face of Christ. Each of us meets people like this every day. Each life that we encounter is a gift deserving acceptance, respect and love. The word of God helps us to open our eyes to welcome and love life, especially when it is weak and vulnerable. But in order to do this, we have to take seriously what the Gospel tells us about the rich man.
2. Sin blinds us The parable is unsparing in its description of the contradictions associated with the rich man (cf. v. 19). Unlike poor Lazarus, he does not have a name; he is simply called “a rich man”. His opulence was seen in his extravagant and expensive robes. Purple cloth was even more precious than silver and gold, and was thus reserved to divinities (cf. Jer 10:9) and kings (cf. Jg 8:26), while fine linen gave one an almost sacred character. The man was clearly ostentatious about his wealth, and in the habit of displaying it daily: “He feasted sumptuously every day” (v. 19). In him we can catch a dramatic glimpse of the corruption of sin, which progresses in three successive stages: love of money, vanity and pride (cf. Homily, 20 September 2013). The Apostle Paul tells us that “the love of money is the root of all evils” (1 Tim 6:10). It is the main cause of corruption and a source of envy, strife and suspicion. Money can come to dominate us, even to the point of becoming a tyrannical idol (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 55). Instead of being an instrument at our service for doing good and showing solidarity towards others, money can chain us and the entire world to a selfish logic that leaves no room for love and hinders peace. The parable then shows that the rich man’s greed makes him vain. His personality finds expression in appearances, in showing others what he can do. But his appearance masks an interior emptiness. His life is a prisoner to outward appearances, to the most superficial and fleeting aspects of existence (cf. ibid., 62). The lowest rung of this moral degradation is pride. The rich man dresses like a king and acts like a god, forgetting that he is merely mortal. For those corrupted by love of riches, nothing exists beyond their own ego. Those around them do not come into their line of sight. The result of attachment to money is a sort of blindness. The rich man does not see the poor man who is starving, hurting, lying at his door. Looking at this character, we can understand why the Gospel so bluntly condemns the love of money: “No one can be the slave of two masters: he will either hate the first and love the second, or be attached to the first and despise the second. You cannot be the slave both of God and of money” (Mt 6:24).
3. The Word is a gift The Gospel of the rich man and Lazarus helps us to make a good preparation for the approach of Easter. The liturgy of Ash Wednesday invites us to an experience quite similar to that of the rich man. When the priest imposes the ashes on our heads, he repeats the words: “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return”. As it turned out, the rich man and the poor man both died, and the greater part of the parable takes place in the afterlife. The two characters suddenly discover that “we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it” (1 Tim 6:7). We too see what happens in the afterlife. There the rich man speaks at length with Abraham, whom he calls “father” (Lk 16:24.27), as a sign that he belongs to God’s people. This detail makes his life appear all the more contradictory, for until this moment there had been no mention of his relation to God. In fact, there was no place for God in his life. His only god was himself. The rich man recognizes Lazarus only amid the torments of the afterlife. He wants the poor man to alleviate his suffering with a drop of water. What he asks of Lazarus is similar to what he could have done but never did. Abraham tells him: “During your life you had your fill of good things, just as Lazarus had his fill of bad. Now he is being comforted here while you are in agony” (v. 25). In the afterlife, a kind of fairness is restored and life’s evils are balanced by good. The parable goes on to offer a message for all Christians. The rich man asks Abraham to send Lazarus to warn his brothers, who are still alive. But Abraham answers: “They have Moses and the prophets, let them listen to them” (v. 29). Countering the rich man’s objections, he adds: “If they will not listen either to Moses or to the prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone should rise from the dead” (v. 31). The rich man’s real problem thus comes to the fore. At the root of all his ills was the failure to heed God’s word. As a result, he no longer loved God and grew to despise his neighbor. The word of God is alive and powerful, capable of converting hearts and leading them back to God. When we close our heart to the gift of God’s word, we end up closing our heart to the gift of our brothers and sisters. Dear friends, Lent is the favorable season for renewing our encounter with Christ, living in his word, in the sacraments and in our neighbor. The Lord, who overcame the deceptions of the Tempter during the forty days in the desert, shows us the path we must take. May the Holy Spirit lead us on a true journey of conversion, so that we can rediscover the gift of God’s word, be purified of the sin that blinds us, and serve Christ present in our brothers and sisters in need. I encourage all the faithful to express this spiritual renewal also by sharing in the Lenten Campaigns promoted by many Church organizations in different parts of the world, and thus to favor the culture of encounter in our one human family. Let us pray for one another so that, by sharing in the victory of Christ, we may open our doors to the weak and poor. Then we will be able to experience and share to the full the joy of Easter. From the Vatican, 18 October 2016
Holy Family Trilogy of St. John Paul II
MAGISTERIAL DOCUMENTS ON CARING FOR THE FAMILY – INCLUDING THE SALESIAN FAMILY
Dogmatic Constitutions, Encyclicals, and Apostolic Exhortations
- Casti Connubii
- Gaudium et Spes
- Humanae Vitae
- Evangelii Nuntiandi
- Catechesi Tradendae
- Familiaris Consortio
- Deus Caritas Est
- Evangelii Gaudium
- Amoris Laetitia FR IT PL PT SP
St. John Paul II
- 31st Vocation Day Message
- 1994 Christmas Message to Children
- Disregard of the Family Threatens Society
- Family in America
- Fidelity of Husband and Wife Stands Like a Rock to the Children
- God Himself Is the Author of Marriage
- Holy Family Radiates Example of True Love
- Jubilee of the Family
- Letter to Families
- Priesthood and Pastoral Care of the Family
- Radiation of Fatherhood
- Television and the Family
- Urbi et Orbi on Christmas Day
- General Audiences from Sept. 5, 1978 – Nov. 28, 1984 (“The Theology of the Body”)
- Publication on Love and Responsibility
- The Jeweler’s Shop (2 videos: stage and film productions)
Pontifical Council for the Family, The Holy See, & The Episcopacy
- A Call for Life and the Family to the Americas
- Charter of the Rights of the Family
- Preparation for the Sacrament of Marriage
- The Family, The Heart of the Civilization of Love
- The Vocation of Marriage in God’s Plan
- The Common Identity Card, Fr. Viganò
- The Common Mission Statement, Fr. Vecchi
- Strenna 2006, Fr. Chavez
- The Salesian Family Charter, Fr. Chavez
- Presentazione della Strenna 2017 data da Don Angel a Casa Generalizia delle FMA
- Presentazione della Strenna 2017 data da Don Pascual Chavez ai SSCC di IME
- Families Never Go Out of Style FR IT SP
General Councils and General Councilors
- General Chapters (23, 24, 25, 26, 27)
- “The Salesian Family Consulta”, Fr. Bregolin
Sr. Yvonne Reungoat, FMA, Mother General
General Councils and General Councilors
- Acts of General Chapter 23
- Vocation Pastoral, Sr. Maria Louisa Miranda (2015)
SALESIAN FAMILY SPIRITUALITY DAYS 2017
The Family Experience of Jesus of Nazareth, Don Bartolome, SDB – FR, IT, PT, and SP – see above
Salesian Youth Pastoral and the Family: Inheritance and Future, Don Attard, SDB – FR, IT, PT, and SP – see above
Accompanying Families: Keys for Listening and Discernment, Sra. Cagigal FR IT PT SP
For Further Reading: Salesiani per il sociale / Federazione SCS/CNOS (the Federation uniting social outreach groups in Italy, such as MetaCometa)
Prayer for Families
Don Angel Fernandez Artime, SDB, Rector Major IT
Mother Yvonne Reungoat, FMA, Mother General IT
Mother Maria Cerullo, ASF, Superior General IT
Articles Published in e-Service
Articles Published in ANS
- RMG – 35th edition of the Days of Spirituality of the Salesian Family
- RMG – We were born to be a family; without this, the Salesian Family has no significance
- RMG – GSFS2017: “Salesian Family: Born to be witnesses of God!”
- RMG – GSFS2017: the Family of Don Bosco at work for the Families
- GFSF2017 – Many Families in the Salesian Family
- RMG – We Are Sent on a True Mission – the Family
- Italy – Families’ Retreat with ADMA
- France – Evangelization in the Family
- Italy – A Formation Course to meet the biggest challenge: the family
- RMG – Youth Ministry and Family
- Spain – Family and Youth Ministry, new impetus
- RMG – Youth Ministry and the Family: an international congress
- Being a Family in a Liquid Society
- La carezza di Dio. Il catechismo di Papa Francesco sulla famiglia
- Italy – World Council of the Association of Salesian Cooperators
RESOURCES FOR STRENNA 2017 AND AMORIS LAETITIA
- Dicastery for Laity, Family, and Life Website
- Pontificium Consilium Pro Familia Website
- The Meeting Point: The Adventure of Love
- USCCB’s Website:For Your Marriage
- Resources for National Marriage Week: Feb. 7-14
- Guided Study Booklet on Amoris Laetitia IT
FMA and SDB General Council Social Communications Departments Newsletter
Power Point on Outline of Strenna 2017 by Sr. Alba Vernazza, FMA
Power Point Series on Amoris Laetitia by Sr. T. Kelly, FMA
- Introduction and Chapter 1
- Chapter 2
- Chapter 3
- Chapter 4
- Chapters 5 & 6
- Chapters 7, 8, & 9
- Reflection Guide to Accompany Sr. T. Kelly’s Power Points
Video Series on Amoris Laetitia by Fr. P. Angelucci, SDB
WORLD MEETING OF FAMILIES 2018
A novena to Mary Help of Christians for Fr Thomas Uzhunnalil
Salesian Cooperator Provincial Congress, Sacred Heart Center, Newton, NJ, July 13-16, 2017
BISHOPS’ SYNOD 2018 ON THE YOUTH, DISCERNMENT, AND VOCATION
LETTER OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS
TO YOUNG PEOPLE ON THE OCCASION OF THE PRESENTATION OF THE PREPARATORY DOCUMENT
OF THE 15th ORDINARY GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE SYNOD OF BISHOPS
My Dear Young People,
I am pleased to announce that in October 2018 a Synod of Bishops will take place to treat the topic: “Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment.” I wanted you to be the centre of attention, because you are in my heart. Today, the Preparatory Document is being presented, a document which I am also entrusting to you as your “compass” on this synodal journey.
I am reminded of the words which God spoke to Abraham: “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.” (Gen 12.1). These words are now also addressed to you. They are words of a Father who invites you to “go”, to set out towards a future which is unknown but one which will surely lead to fulfilment, a future towards which He Himself accompanies you. I invite you to hear God’s voice resounding in your heart through the breath of the Holy Spirit.
When God said to Abram, “Go!”, what did he want to say? He certainly did not say to distance himself from his family or withdraw from the world. Abram received a compelling invitation, a challenge, to leave everything and go to a new land. What is this “new land” for us today, if not a more just and friendly society which you, young people, deeply desire and wish to build to the very ends of the earth?
But unfortunately, today, “Go!” also has a different meaning, namely, that of abuse of power, injustice and war. Many among you are subjected to the real threat of violence and forced to flee their native land. Their cry goes up to God, like that of Israel, when the people were enslaved and oppressed by Pharaoh (cf. Ex 2:23).
I would also remind you of the words that Jesus once said to the disciples who asked him: “Teacher […] where are you staying?” He replied, “Come and see” (Jn 1:38). Jesus looks at you and invites you to go with him. Dear young people, have you noticed this look towards you? Have you heard this voice? Have you felt this urge to undertake this journey? I am sure that, despite the noise and confusion seemingly prevalent in the world, this call continues to resonate in the depths of your heart so as to open it to joy in its fullness. This will be possible to the extent that, even with professional guides, you will learn how to undertake a journey of discernment to discover God’s plan in your life. Even when the journey is uncertain and you fall, God, rich in mercy, will extend his hand to pick you up.
In Krakow, at the opening of the last World Youth Day, I asked you several times: “Can we change things?” And you shouted: “yes!”. That shout came from your young and youthful hearts, which do not tolerate injustice and cannot bow to a “throw-away culture” nor give in to the globalization of indifference. Listen to the cry arising from your inner selves! Even when you feel, like the prophet Jeremiah, the inexperience of youth, God encourages you to go where He sends you: “Do not be afraid, […], because I am with you to deliver you” (Jer 1:8).
A better world can be built also as a result of your efforts, your desire to change and your generosity. Do not be afraid to listen to the Spirit who proposes bold choices; do not delay when your conscience asks you to take risks in following the Master. The Church also wishes to listen to your voice, your sensitivities and your faith; even your doubts and your criticism. Make your voice heard, let it resonate in communities and let it be heard by your shepherds of souls. St. Benedict urged the abbots to consult, even the young, before any important decision, because “the Lord often reveals to the younger what is best.” (Rule of St. Benedict, III, 3).
Such is the case, even in the journey of this Synod. My brother bishops and I want even more to “work with you for your joy” (2 Cor 1:24). I entrust you to Mary of Nazareth, a young person like yourselves, whom God beheld lovingly, so she might take your hand and guide you to the joy of fully and generously responding to God’s call with the words: “Here I am” (cf. Lk 1:38).
With paternal affection,
Given at the Vatican, 13 January 2017
LINEAMENTA (Working Document)
“These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full” (Jn 15:11). This is God’s plan for all men and women in every age, including all the young men and women of the Third Millennium, without exception.
Proclaiming the joy of the Gospel is the mission entrusted by the Lord to his Church. The Synod on the New Evangelization and the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium treated how to accomplish this mission in today’s world. The two synods on the family and the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Amoris laetitia were, instead, dedicated to helping families find this joy.
In keeping with this mission and introducing a new approach through a Synod with the topic, “Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment”, the Church has decided to examine herself on how she can lead young people to recognize and accept the call to the fullness of life and love, and to ask young people to help her in identifying the most effective ways to announce the Good News today. By listening to young people, the Church will once again hear the Lord speaking in today’s world. As in the days of Samuel (cf. 1 Sam 3:1-21) and Jeremiah (cf. Jer 1:4-10), young people know how to discern the signs of our times, indicated by the Spirit. Listening to their aspirations, the Church can glimpse the world which lies ahead and the paths the Church is called to follow.
For each person, the vocation to love takes concrete form in everyday life through a series of choices, which find expression in the states of life (marriage, ordained ministry, consecrated life, etc.), professions, forms of social and civil commitment, lifestyle, the management of time and money, etc. Whether these choices are willfully made or simply accepted, either consciously or unconsciously, no one is excluded from making these choices. The purpose of vocational discernment is to find out how to transform them, in the light of faith, into steps towards the fullness of joy to which everyone is called.
The Church knows the basis of “the strength and beauty of young people, [namely] the ability to rejoice at the beginning of undertakings, to give oneself totally without going back, to pick oneself up and begin again in search of new conquests” (Message of Vatican II to Young People, 8 December 1965). The riches of the Church’s spiritual tradition provide many resources in guiding the formation of conscience and an authentic freedom.
With this in mind, the present Preparatory Document begins the synod’s phase of consultation of the entire People of God. This document — addressed to the synods and councils of patriarchs of the Eastern Catholic Churches sui iuris, the episcopal conferences, the dicasteries of the Roman Curia and the Union of Superiors General — concludes with a series of questions. The consultation will also include all young people through a website with questions on their expectations and their lives. The answers to both series of questions will be the basis for drafting the “work-document” or Instrumentum laboris, which will be the reference point in the discussion of the synod fathers.
This Preparatory Document suggests a reflection in three steps, beginning with summarily outlining some of the social and cultural dynamics of the world in which young people grow and make their decisions and proposing that these be read in the light of faith. The document then retraces the fundamental steps of the process of discernment, which the Church feels is the basic means she can offer young people so they can discover, in the light of faith, their vocation. Finally, the document treats key points in a pastoral vocational programme for youth. The document, therefore, is not exhaustive, but serves as a kind of guide to encourage further discussion, whose fruits will be available only at the conclusion of the Synod.
LIKE DON BOSCO, WITH THE YOUNG AND FOR THE YOUNG
LETTER OF The Holy Father, Pope Francis
to Reverend Fr. Ángel Fernández Artime Rector Major of the Salesians on the Bicentenary of the birth of St. John Bosco
The memory of St. John Bosco is alive in the Church. He is remembered as the founder of the Salesian Congregation, the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, the Association of the Salesian Cooperators, the Association of Mary Help of Christians, and as the father of the present-day Salesian Family. He is likewise remembered in the Church as a holy educator and pastor of the young who opened the way of holiness for young people, offered a method of education that is at the same time a spirituality, and received from the Holy Spirit a charism for modern times. In the Bicentenary of his birth I had the joy of meeting the Salesian Family gathered in the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians in Turin, where lie the Founder’s mortal remains. Through this message I wish to join with you again in thanking God, and at the same time in recalling the essential aspects of Don Bosco’s spiritual and pastoral legacy and urging you to live them courageously.
Italy, Europe and the world have changed considerably in these two centuries, but the soul of the young has not: even today boys and girls are open to life and to the encounter with God and with others, but there are so many of them exposed to discouragement, spiritual anemia and marginalization.
Don Bosco teaches us first of all to not stand idly by, but to put ourselves in the vanguard by offering young people an integral educational experience which, firmly based on the religious dimension, affects the mind, the emotions and the whole person, always considered as someone created and loved by God. This leads to a genuinely human and Christian pedagogy, one that is animated by a concern for prevention and inclusion, especially of the children of the working classes and the marginalized groups of society, and offers them an opportunity for education and learning a trade in order to become good Christians and honest citizens. By working for the moral, civil and cultural education of youth, Don Bosco worked for the good of people and civil society, following his particular view of man that combines happiness, study and prayer, or to put it another way, work, religion and virtue. An integral part of this process is the development of a person’s vocation in order to enable him to assume the concrete way of life in the Church to which the Lord calls him. This wide-ranging and demanding educational vision which Don Bosco condensed in his motto, “Da mihi animas”, accomplished what we today express in the phrase, “educate by evangelizing and evangelize by educating” (Congregation for the Clergy, General Directory for Catechesis [August 15, 1997], n. 147).
A characteristic feature of Don Bosco’s pedagogy is loving kindness, which is to be understood as a love that is manifested and perceived, and reveals itself in caring, affection, understanding and involvement in the life of another person. In the experiential process of education, according to Don Bosco, it is not enough to love, but love needs to be expressed in gestures that are concrete and effective. Thanks to this loving kindness, so many children and adolescents in Salesian settings have experienced an intense and serene emotional growth, which has proved very valuable in the shaping of their personality and in their life’s journey.
Within this framework lie other distinctive traits of Don Bosco’s educational method: a family environment; the presence of the educator as a father, teacher and friend of the young person, which is conveyed by a classical term of Salesian pedagogy: assistance; a climate of joy and celebration; ample space offered for singing, music and the theatre; the importance of the playground, games, sports and outings.
We can summarize the salient aspects of Don Bosco’s personality in the following manner: he lived the total surrender of himself to God in his dedication to the salvation of souls and lived his fidelity to God and to the young in one and the same act of love. These attitudes led him to “go out” and take courageous decisions: the decision to devote himself to poor youth with the aim of giving rise to a vast movement of poor people for poor people; and the decision to extend this service beyond the boundaries of language, race, culture and religion, thanks to his tireless missionary impulse. He realized this project through his style of joyfully accepting and personally caring for each one whom he met and accompanied.
He was able to elicit the cooperation of Saint Mary Domenica Mazzarello and the cooperation of lay people, giving rise to the large tree of the Salesian Family which has received and enhanced his legacy.
In short, Don Bosco lived with a great passion for the salvation of the young, appearing as a credible witness of Jesus Christ and an outstanding herald of his Gospel, in profound communion with the Church, and in particular, with the Pope. He lived in constant prayer and union with God, with a strong and tender devotion to Our Lady, whom he invoked as the Immaculate Virgin and the Help of Christians; he was endowed with mystical experiences and the gift of miracles for the sake of his boys.
Even today the Salesian Family opens out to new frontiers in education and missionary work, pursuing the paths traced out by the new means of social communication and by an intercultural education among peoples of different religions in countries of the developing world or in places marked by migration. The challenges of the Turin of the nineteenth century have assumed global dimensions: the idolatry of money, an inequality that generates violence, an ideological colonization and cultural challenges related to urban contexts. Some aspects are more directly connected with the world of the young, such as the spread of the Internet, and therefore they pose a challenge to you, sons and daughters of Don Bosco, called as you are to work and to keep in mind, together with the hurts, also the resources that the Holy Spirit inspires in crisis situations.
As a Salesian Family you are called to let the creativity typical of your charism flourish once more in and beyond your educational institutions, as you take your place with apostolic dedication among young people, especially those on the peripheries. “Youth ministry, as traditionally organized, has also suffered the impact of social changes. Young people often fail to find responses to their concerns, needs, problems and hurts in the usual structures. As adults, we find it hard to listen patiently to them, to appreciate their concerns and demands, and to speak to them in a language they can understand” (Apost. Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, 105). Let us ensure that, as educators and as a community, we accompany them on their journey so that they feel the joy of bringing Jesus to every street, to every square, to every corner of the earth (cf. ibid., 106).
May Don Bosco help you to not disappoint the deep aspirations of the young: their need for life, openness, joy, freedom, and the future; their desire to collaborate in building up a more just and fraternal world, in fostering the development of all peoples, in safeguarding nature and the living environment. Following his example, you will help them to experience that only in the life of grace, i.e., in friendship with Christ, does one fully attain the most authentic ideals. You will have the joy of accompanying them in their search for a synthesis of faith, culture and life at moments when they take weighty decisions or attempt to interpret a reality that is complex.
In particular, I want to point out two tasks that arise today from a discernment of the youth reality: the first is that of educating, in accordance with a Christian anthropology, to the language of the new means of social communication and of the social networks, that deeply shape the cultural and value systems of the young, and therefore their outlook on the reality of man and religion; the second is that of promoting forms of social volunteering, and not resigning yourselves to the ideologies that place the market and production above the dignity of the person and the value of work.
To be educators who evangelize is a gift of nature and grace, but it is also the result of formation, study, reflection, prayer and asceticism. Don Bosco used to say to young people: “For you I study, for you I work, for you I live, for you I am ready even to give my life” (Salesian Constitutions, art. 14).
Today more than ever, in the face of what Pope Benedict XVI often referred to as an “educational emergency” (cf. Letter to the diocese and the city of Rome on the urgent task of educating young people, 21 January 2008), I invite the Salesian Family to promote an effective educational alliance between different religious and secular agencies so as to move forward with the diversity of your charisms at the service of youth in the different continents. In particular, I remind you of the imperative need to involve the families of young people. There can indeed be no effective youth ministry without a good family ministry.
The Salesian is an educator who, in the midst of his many relationships and commitments, always lets the first proclamation resound, the good news that directly or indirectly can never be absent: “Jesus Christ loves you; he gave his life to save you, and now he is living at your side every day to enlighten, strengthen and free you “(Apost. Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, 164). To be faithful disciples of Don Bosco requires you to renew the choice of catechesis that was his lifelong commitment, understanding it today within the mission of a new evangelization (cf. ibid., 160-175). This evangelizing catechesis deserves pride of place in Salesian institutions, and must be made with theological and pedagogical competence and the educator’s transparent witness. It requires a process that involves listening to the Word of God, frequenting the sacraments, especially Confession and the Eucharist, and a filial relationship with the Virgin Mary.
Dear Salesian Brothers and Sisters, Don Bosco testifies that Christianity is the source of happiness, because it is the Gospel of love. It is from this source, and in your Salesian educational practice as well, that joy and celebration find their consistency and continuity. “We become fully human when we become more than human, when we let God bring us beyond ourselves in order to attain the fullest truth of our being. Here we find the source and inspiration of all our efforts at evangelization”(Apost. Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, 8).
The Church has great expectations concerning the care of the young; great too is the charism that the Holy Spirit bestowed on St. John Bosco, a charism that has been carried forward by the Salesian Family with a passionate dedication to the youth of all continents and a flowering of numerous priestly, religious and lay vocations. I therefore cordially encourage you to take up the legacy of your founder and father with the Gospel radicalism that he made his own in his thinking, speaking and acting, with a proper competence and a generous spirit of service, like Don Bosco, with the young and for the young.
From the Vatican, 24 June 2015 Solemnity of the Birth of St. John the Baptist
This text and the Italian, French, and Spanish versions can be found under the “Salesian Spirituality” sub-category of “Formation Materials” on the “Pastoral Resources” page and the video of his informal talk in the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians, having put aside this formal address, here – or unedited versions from the Holy Father’s arrival at Valdocco on our “Videos” or YouTube pages.
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