Madrid (Spain). From 10 to 12 June 2022 in Madrid, at Saint Joseph Retreat House, the 5th elective Congress of Salesian Cooperators (SSCC) of the Iberian Region was held, which includes the 7 Provinces of the Salesian Cooperators of Portugal and Spain.

The Congress, representative assembly of all the Salesian Cooperators of the Region, in which the sense of belonging to the Association is reaffirmed, had as its objective the election of the new World Councilor of the Region according to the procedures approved by the Rector Major of the Salesians of Don Bosco, Fr. Ángel Fernández Artime. It was also necessary to elect the new members of the Regional Executive Secretariat (SER), to verify the status of the Association in the Region, and to give operational guidelines.

On 10 June, the Secretary of the Region, Rafael Vilar, welcomed the 65 participants, including the World Coordinator, Mr. Antonio Boccia; the Delegate of the Rector Major for the Salesian Family, Fr. Joan Lluís Playá, SDB; the Delegate World SSCC SDB, Mr. Domingo Nguyen; the World SSCC Delegate of the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, Sr. Lucrecia Uribe; the Coordinators, the members of the Provincial Councils, and the SDB and FMA Provincial Delegates.

After approving the Regulations of the Congress, Mr. Antonio Boccia addressed the theme, “The SSCC called to live synodality in the Church” underlining the importance of making their own contribution to the Church with their own charismatic contribution, assuming specific commitments as Local Centers in co-responsibility of the mission, because Don Bosco wanted the SSCC, “Consecrated and lay together for the salvation of the poorest young people, therefore, we have synodality in our DNA.”

The second day of work began with the intervention of the Cardinal of Rabat (Morocco), Cristóbal López Romero, SDB. With great ecclesial sense and sensitivity towards the neediest, he developed the theme, “Building the Kingdom of God in the face of new situations of poverty” indicating nine ways to adopt a poor lifestyle according to the logic of the Gospel and concrete example of Don Bosco.

Sr. Lucrecia Uribe then shared with the Assembly the topic “Synodality and leadership. The biblical dimension of synodality.” Starting from some figures of the Old and New Testament, she gave practical indications on the traits of the leader that favor synodality, among which a merciful heart and an attentive eye emerge, capable of listening to the needs of the territory and of the Church, as well as to accompany the journey of local Centers and young people.

Synodality from the charismatic point of view is the topic explored by Coadjutor Mr. Duc Ngyen, who spoke about it from the charismatic point of view, presenting through the life and work of Don Bosco, the conviction of the need of the laity to take care of the educative and evangelizing process of many poor young people.

The group work made it possible to identify the priorities for the next six years, according to the dimensions of formation, communication, solidarity, professional animation, and youth and family ministry. This work took into account not only the contents received, but also the copious contribution offered by the local Centers and the Provincial Councils and the analysis carried out by the Regional Executive Secretariat. In the conclusions, it was considered necessary to continue to consolidate the work carried out, avoiding the risk of not making the most of strengths and paying more attention to youth and family Ministry.

The election of the World Councilor for the Iberian Region took place on 12 June. Mr. Borja Pérez Galnares, of the Province of Saint Francis Xavier (Santander-Spain) was elected. The new members of the Regional Executive Secretariat (SER) were also appointed.

At the end of the Congress, Borja Pérez Galnares recalled that his mission as the new World Councilor is not to have his own projects, but to accompany the process outlined by the commitment guidelines that emerged from the 2018 World Congress. In conclusion, Mr. Antonio Boccia and the Mr. Raul Fernandez, Councilors for the Iberian Region, thanked for the success of the Congress, the result of a collaborative effort in the Salesian family spirit.


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