Exploring the roots and the present situation of Salesian holiness

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By Our Own Correspondent

Valdocco, Italy, 11 January 2019 — The second day (11 January) of the 37th Salesian Family Days held at Valdocco for the second time unfolded between the roots and the present situation of typical Salesian holiness. Thanks to the excellent synergy of all who have contributed to the the smooth running of the SF Days, participants began with a well-led morning prayer at the Valdocco Theatre. The 19 SDB novices from Pinerolo did their best and the IME and ICP joint social communication team also worked well together. The “Patagonia” App for translation to 5 main languages: English, Spanish, Portuguese, French and Korean also worked well – mostly!

The morning program was introduced by Fr Aldo Giraudo (Pontifical Salesian University, Rome – Don Bosco Study Centre) who introduced the main 5 elements of typical holiness in Don Bosco’s style: Give oneself to God with a whole heart (1), It is easy to become a saint (2), Ascetics of apostolic life (3), Always in the presence of God – Prayerful life (4) and Mary as the best teacher of holiness (5). Then followed a short open forum with F. Aldo with many unanswered questions due to time limit.

Probably the best contribution for the day was a vibrant, convincing and strong testimonial from Croatian-Canadian Salesian Fr Damir Stojic, who introduced a few ‘Basics’ or ‘Fundamentals’ of his University students ministry in Zagreb (Croatia) with his own faith-vocation journey. So far it has been the only English talk during these days, followed directly with attention by all EAO participants. Fr Damir shared many articles of the SDB Constitutions (e.g. 12, 13, 14, 17 and 196) in a very personal way as well his youthful and charismatic Salesian experience with the young. His talk was followed by a short vocation story sharing by one of his ‘disciples’ – a young Croatian Salesian, one result of this university student ministry, postnovice Tomislav. A clear focus on Jesus in His Word, Eucharist and on Mary were highlighted together with many insights from Croatian youth ministry today. At present the CRO province (Croatia – Bosnia& Herzegovina) is the only province in Europe growing in numbers, blessed every year with numerous novices.

The afternoon program was a silent prayerful pilgrimage in seven language groups around Valdocco – Basilica of Mary Help of Christians, Church of St Francis de Sales and the Chapel of Mary Help of Christians in the FMA community. Also the new Don Bosco mural decoration on the Valdocco wall was part of this wonderful tour. Along the way the testimonials of twenty SF saints, blesseds, venerables and servants of God were a good eye-opener for many participants.

Then followed an evening program with group sharing, meal and evening prayer service in the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians. The dream of two columns prayer led by ADMA members with Rosary and Eucharistic Adoration, was a worthy conclusion to the second day of the SF spirituality days in the holy land of Valdocco, marked by the presence of so many saints.

The main events, such as talks with open forum or the Eucharist were accessible in LIVE streaming on the ANS Facebook page (Agenzia Info Salesiana Ans) in Italian, Spanish and English. Even the moderators mentioned in public the active online presence of EAO Salesians from many different countries like Australia or Pakistan, Philippines and Thailand. All Australasia readers are encouraged to share this opportunity to participate ONLINE in the main events of the 37th SF Days on Saturday (Jan 12) and Sunday (Jan 13).

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