Rome (Italy). On September 23rd, 2018, the International Congress “Youth and life choices: Educational perspectives” concluded. “The choices that a young person makes are not a menu. When we choose, we choose our freedom”. The conclusions of yesterday morning, Sunday, September 23, were entrusted to Prof. Andrea Bozzolo of the Faculty of Theology of the Salesian Pontifical University of Turin. “Youth is not just a personal age, but an anthropological and theological challenge of identity”. Professor Bozzolo focused on the irrevocable choices that are played between euphoria and doubt. “But how do you commit yourself for your whole life to a promise?” It is precisely the words of Pope Francis that help us: “Ask for whom you are”, only in this way can vocation assume the original features of a ‘grace’, a mission, and our brothers and sisters will make us discover what freedom is”. Professor Bozzolo suggests a renewal of the language with which the Church speaks to young people to make them protagonists, and to recover the teachings of Don Bosco and Mother Mazzarello that indicated immense horizons to their children even in small choices. “I hope this Synod can restore the beauty of choice and freedom of young people”.
The Principal of the Pontifical Faculty of Educational Sciences Auxilium, Sister Pina Del Core, emphasized the challenges opened by the Congress. From an educational point of view, Prof. Del Core stressed the need to help young people in the decision-making processes, in the vocational choices between freedom and personal project. The choices and decision-making processes thus constitute “the new battlefield in which professional and vocational decisions are played out”. Furthermore, the digital world and the new communication technologies push us to rethink the great themes, such as freedom, education, choice; educating to choice has to do inevitably also with “the acceptance of the mystery that accompanies every decision, because it always implies a risky delivery of oneself, a reliance on something or Someone”. From the pastoral point of view, it is important to take care of the formation of educators, formators, including parents “so that they will learn discernment as an ongoing style of living and educating”. Only an authentic and fruitful dialog between the human sciences, the sciences of education, and the theological sciences will produce “an integral vision of the paths of accompaniment and vocational discernment”.
The final thanks were entrusted to the Rector Magnifico Prof. Fr. Mauro Mantovani. “A special thanks goes to the Department of Youth Ministry of the Salesians and to the Youth Pastoral Department of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, to the Councilors, to Mother Yvonne Reungoat, to the Scientific and Organizational Committee of the Congress, to the presenters, to the young translators newly graduated at La Sapienza University of Rome, sponsors, benefactors, in particular the Malizia Foundation, to the Salesian Vice Province, to the University students for video coverage by Andrea Petralia, Jacopo Balliana, and Lia Maria Palmieri, to the communication offices of the UPS and of the Auxilium Faculty, to the direction of the technical apparatus, but above all to the young volunteers, students, alumni, Salesian cooperators, and friends of our Institutions who have given time and energy for the success of the event”. Fr. Mauro Mantovani concluded that: “We are a Church, we are a family, we are for the young, and this is precisely our mission”.
The notes of the song “Don Bosco Father, Teacher, and Friend” and the inevitable final selfie, the distinctive signature of today’s culture, ended the International Congress YOUTH AND CHOICES OF LIFE: EDUCATIONAL PERSPECTIVES.