Turin (Italy). The 41st edition of the Salesian Family Spirituality Days held at Valdocco from 12 to 15 January, concluded with the Eucharistic Celebration in Mary Help of Christians Basilica, presided by the Rector Major Fr. Ángel Fernández Artime, Father and Center of Unity of the Salesian Family, and with the synthesis of the Groups given in the Assembly.

At the beginning of the celebration, the Rector Major underlined the significance of being in communion, with the people of God and as a Salesian Family, celebrating the Eucharist, “it is a beautiful expression of communion and we can never lose this vision in the celebration of faith.”

The words of exhortation of his homily were, “Once again we find ourselves here in Mary Help of Christians Basilica, where Don Bosco was praying with his boys, from where he sent the first missionaries, Salesians of Don Bosco and Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, where the body of Don Bosco and our Saints and Blesseds are… Today we say: Beloved Father Don Bosco, your Family is here today, next to you, next to Our Lady, always in the heart of the Lord. The Family that you formed under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit is here today, a small group representing hundreds of thousands in the world, with a Salesian heart.”

He then continued by taking up some points from the Sunday Readings: Isaiah’s invitation to be “light of the nations” (Is 49:3/5-6), to be, in the Salesian vocation, yeast for the human family, a lantern that makes good light for others. John points to the Lord (Jn 1:29-34), so we must be careful not to proclaim ourselves, but to ensure that the Lord Jesus is recognized and loved. The Spirit of God was not a gift given once and for all. It is present in the actual moment; it guides the history of the Church and of each life. “The Holy Spirit made the dream of that young priest become a reality today present all over the world. If it hadn’t been God’s work, everything would have ended. If the Spirit had not found a few young girls in Mornese, with a man like Don Bosco and with the gift of the Spirit, everything would have remained there… And thus today, after 150, 163 years, the desire to do good continues, to bring all to the Lord Jesus, and to be yeast in today’s human family.”

At the end of the Celebration, in procession with the Leaders, Coordinators, and Representatives of the SF Groups present, the Rector Major went towards the altar containing the remains of Don Bosco for a symbolic moment of ‘missionary sending’ and a group photo.

The last morning continued with the meeting of the participants by SF Groups, to summarize what they had experienced and share the concrete aspects to be valued upon returning to the community and associative realities.

Over the course of the experience, the group work was greatly appreciated and valued by each one, as the first opportunity to meet and share ‘in presence’ after the pandemic, and to reciprocate knowledge about the Groups of the Salesian Family and the local experiences that was favored by the projection of video presentations during the assemblies.

Opening the final session with all the participants in the Teatro Grande, after the video summary of the previous day, Fr. Joan Lluís Playà, Central Delegate of the Rector Major of the Secretariat for the SF, wanted to clarify that it was not the ‘end’ of the Days, but only of the ‘4th day’, since one had to face a whole year to experience, in every place and according to the vision of one’s own Group, the contents and experiences of Strenna 2023.

“We have lived many moments in these Days, this is the moment to say what we carry in our hearts, above all the most interesting and urgent aspects for our Group and for the Salesian Family as a whole, aspects that help us to live and bear witness to this social dimension of the Salesian charism,” said Fr. Playà, calling the secretaries of the Groups to the stage in turn.

In the summaries, a great consonance was found between the guidelines of the journey and the proposals that emerged, in particular: more co-responsibility and complementarity between men and women religious and lay men and women and between the Groups of the SF; joint formation and care for specific formation to be ‘salt’, as well as yeast living the family spirit; being significant presences capable of rejuvenating the Associations and not losing the Charism where one is no longer present; inserting oneself into the multiple contemporary realities by deepening the encounter with the other; getting to know each other among the Groups and in the plurality of vocations strengthen one’s identity; intensify consultations at all levels; share the Charism with young people and accompany them on their journey of faith; foster spaces for discussion to reach those farthest away, especially young people and families; cultivate prayer as an apostolic tool and method; take care of relationships;  network; give one’s testimony  in all areas of life.

As Fr. Joan Lluís pointed out, the numerous ideas shared like ‘rain’ are ‘fine gold’ to put into practice and to live, to be yeast in today’s world, religious and laity walking together, each with its own specificity and richness to offer. He concluded, “Let’s do it and we will live!”

In closing the 2023 Days with “see you again” at the next edition and the thanks of the Rector Major, two appointments were announced: the IX World Congress of the Association of Mary Help of Christians on the theme, “I will give you the Teacher” which will be in Fatima, Portugal, from 29 August to 1 September 2024, and the second edition of the Salesian film festival “Don Bosco Global Youth Film Festival”, 13-14 October 2023.

Video of the morning

Photos FlickrFMA


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