Rome (Italy). On 26 February 2023, at Mother Ersilia Canta House of Mary Mother of the Church Preprovince (RMC) in Rome, Sr. Runita Borja, General Councilor for Youth Ministry of the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, with Sr. Lolia Annie Pfozhumai, collaborator, presented the Sector to the FMA students of the second year of the Spirituality Course of the FMA Institute and to three students of the Degree Course in Catechetics and Youth Ministry of the Pontifical Faculty of Educational Sciences “Auxilium”.
The objective of this formation day was to know more about the role of the Youth Ministry Sector and the various activities that take place at this level.
Sr. Runita, after a brief presentation of the members who work in the Sector, invited us to broaden our gaze to contemporaneity from which the challenges and opportunities of the educational mission emerge. She spoke of three main focuses on which the animation of the educational mission among young people unfolds: the Role of the Sector; the main sources for understanding the YM of the FMA; the key points of the 2022-2027 animation for the YM Sector.
Role of the Sector for Youth Ministry
The Councilor pointed out that the purpose of Youth Ministry is the animation of the apostolic activities of the Institute in all its various forms, in fidelity to the Charism and the needs of the youth reality (cf. Const. art. 129).
The educational mission is a charismatic gift expressed in the experiences of Don Bosco and of St. Mary Domenica Mazzarello and in the tradition of the Institute. In this mission, the subject is the Educating Community, constituted by the FMA Community, by the laity, and by the young people who, at different levels, share the common mission with different roles in favor of the young. It is, therefore, an experience that involves all cultures, that is to say, the Institute in its variety.
In the light of the Incarnation of Christ and as a gift of predilection for the young, FMA Youth Ministry places the person’s growth at the center, in all the dimensions that constitute them, through the integration of the four pedagogical perspectives that we propose to achieve: cultural, which aims to promote the culture of and for life; evangelizing, which favors the integration between faith and daily experience; social, which guides young people to acquire behaviors that express active citizenship and solidarity; communicative, which qualifies reciprocal, intergenerational relationships, and allows us to face the cultural change brought about by new technologies and the digital world.
Sr. Runita indicated as reference documents for the YM of the FMA: the Constitutions and Regulations of the FMA Institute; the Guidelines for the Educational Mission of the FMA (LOME); the Formation Plan; the Cooperation for Development document; the Guidelines for the Management of Goods in the FMA Institute; the Circulars of Mother; the Acts of the General Chapters.
Guided by these documents, the Youth Ministry of the FMA Institute concretely carries out the educational mission, its typical way of expressing the attention of the Church towards the younger generations, in contact with life, open to hope.
Key points of the animation 2022-2027
All Sectors follow the Programming of the General Council. Starting from the priority choices of the General Chapter, from the Chapter Deliberation, and from the methodological discernment chosen, in adherence to the guidelines of Pope Francis. For YM, Christus Vivit, Laudato Si’, Global Educational Pact assumes the objective of creating a plan of well-defined action facilitating the achievement of set goals. From this perspective, the attention of the animation of YM 2022-2027 was centered on ecological conversion; on the reference to global citizenship with particular attention to the female reality; on the relaunch of a style of missionary synodality, in looking for young people wherever they are to listen to them and involve them; on getting involved with young people through new projects and methods of accompaniment.
Youth Ministry is called to be ever more missionary, vocational, synodal, and systematic, capable of dealing with the different contexts and needs of young men and women. It finds its full actualization in environmental pedagogy and in attention to a plurality of environments, in the diversity of Salesian works.
This is how a student expresses her reflection on the formation afternoon:
The formation experience lived made me discover better the value of our educational mission, with which we always try to give an answer to young people’s search for meaning. I understood the richness of the history of our Youth Ministry, of our way of accompanying young people together with many collaborators. Indeed, the educational mission does not concern only the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, but rather the whole Educating Community, called to work together in favor of young people, listening to them and taking into account the changes in today’s society.
This also stimulated me to commit myself more as an educator, catechist, pastoral worker, to respond competently to the cry of today’s young people. I was also able to envision an overview of the organization of Youth Ministry in the Institute and of the various sectors of the educational mission dedicated to the growth of the younger generations. I was enriched with new knowledge, project strategies, and means of accompaniment in our educational mission. I am grateful for the opportunity I had.