Guadalajara (Mexico). From the 1st to the 5th of May 2024, in Guadalajara, at the Chapalita Institute, was held on the 5th Continental Meeting of the Salesian School of America (ESA V) on the theme: “Together for the present and the future of the Salesian School in America”.

The event brought together representatives of 47 Provinces of Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, Salesians of Don Bosco, Daughters of the Divine Savior (HDS), and Daughters of Sacred Hearts (HHSSCC), for a total of 237 participants from 26 nations. Among the participants were: Sister Ausilia De Siena, Councilor for Communication of the FMA Institute; Sister Ivone Goulart Lópes, FMA, collaborator of the FMA Youth Ministry Sector and contact person for the Salesian School of America; Sister Herlinda Palomino and Sister Sarah García, Sector collaborators.

Listening to reality

Celebrating the 30th anniversary of work online seeking to understand the current reality of the American continent, marked by various challenges including impoverishment, inequality, social exclusion, and others.

On the first day of the event, after registration and reception, participants attended the parade of flags and the performance of a local folk group, which highlighted the rich and colorful Mexican traditions, and then listened to the messages of the authorities.

Cardinal José Tolentino Mendonça, Prefect of the Dicastery for Culture and Education, through a video message stressed the importance of being bold and creative in rethinking the methods of evangelization; while the Cardinal of Guadalajara, Msgr. José Francisco Roble, recognized and thanked for the Salesian Charism in the Church, with its fruits for young people.

The Mother General of the FMA Institute, Sister Chiara Cazzuola, through a video stressed the importance of confronting the charismatic roots to understand the mission entrusted to us. Fr. Miguel Ángel García Marcuende, SDB, General Councilor for Youth Ministry, brought the message of the Rector Major, Cardinal Ángel Fernández Artime, who stressed the need to adapt educational systems to the evolving realities of young people.

Sister Runita Borja, General Councilor for Youth Ministry, Through a video message encouraged the transformation of the shared dream in this meeting into a vision of the future for the Salesian Schools of America.

The Provincial of Christ the Kind and Mary Help of Christians Province (MEG 1), Fr. Filiberto González Placencia; and the Provincial of Mother of the Church Province (MMO), Sister Maria del Socorro Hernández, stressed their commitment to deepening and updating the Mission of Don Bosco in the Salesian Schools.

Through videos or written messages, also became present Fr. Jaime Spengler, President of the Latin American and Caribbean Episcopal Council (CELAM); Hervé Lecomte, Secretary General of the International Office of Catholic Education (OIEC); Emilce Cuda, Secretary of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America (CAL); Abraham Lozano, representing Jalisco’s Secretary of Education. Sister Laura Guisado, FMA, on behalf of Secretary General Oscar A. Pérez Sayago, spoke for the Inter-American Confederation of Catholic Education (CIEC).

“Relational trust, a key to transforming schools” is the title of the opening conference, held by Dr. José Weinstein. In the evening, the opening Eucharistic celebration was presided over by the Provincial, Fr. Filiberto.

May 2 was a day of intense activity, which began with the Eucharistic Celebration presided over by Fr. Felipe Carranza, SDB, Vicar of Guadalajara. In the first conference, with the Cardinal Emeritus of Honduras, Msgr. Oscar Rodríguez Madariaga discussed, “From traditional anthropology to the anthropology of meaning, for a happier youth”. This was followed by the conference, “Culture and Youth Education. Contemporary context of youth reality in America”, held by Iván Ariel Freesia, SDB. The resonances at the end of the morning focused on “What challenges and perspectives for Salesian leaders in the context of youth and education in America”.

In the afternoon, the conference “Educational leadership in Salesian schools in America: results and educational proposals” was held by Sister Patricia Parraguez Núñez, FMA. A round table followed on the theme, “Which educational leadership for Salesian schools today, to promote reasons for life and hope for young people”, coordinated by Fr. Hector Ugarte.

The last moment of the day was the presentation of the Good Practices “Retracing the historical path of 30 years of ESA: achievements and progress in the region”. The good practices of the CINAB and ANDINA Conferences were presented by Fr. Luis Mauricio Cuadros, of Colombia. For the Rede Salesiana Brazil (RSB) the speakers were: Sister Lucia Jacinta Finassi, Ana Paula Costa and Silva, Father Leandro Pinheiro, and Cristiano Prates. CICSAL and the South Cone (SEPSUR) were presented by Sister Cecilia Poublete, Claudia Echevarría, and Fr. David Rivera; CIMAC, NAC, and Mesoamerica were presented by Fr. Carlos Alberto Montoya and Sister Eva Doris Meza.

Deepening the Salesian spirit

The morning of May 3 began with the Eucharistic Celebration presided over by Fr. Hugo Orozco, General Councilor for the Inter-American Region. Then followed, “Salesian identity and the global educational pact”, with two reports: “Salesian pedagogy today”, held by Fr. Michael Vojtás, SDB, Vice-Rector of the Salesian Pontifical University of Rome and “The preventive system and the global educational pact” by Sister Piera Ruffinatto, FMA, Dean of the Pontifical Faculty of Education Science “Auxilium”. At the end of the morning, the participants explored some “Preventive System Experiences”, divided into groups.

In the afternoon, instead, they were able to deepen the “dimensions of the Salesian model of significance” by rotating in the different rooms: Preventive System and Salesian Identity; Pedagogical and Evangelizing Management; Educational Pastoral and Environment; Management of results and significance.

Weaving paths for the future

On the penultimate day, the Round Table on “Educommunication: Media and Information Literacy” was held, with contributions from speakers: Ignacio Aguaded, Alexandre Le Voci Sayad, and Sister Márcia Koffermann, FMA. Also in the morning, group work was held in thematic rooms including, “The impact of artificial intelligence technologies on education”, “Education and the world of work”, “Citizenship” and “Human rights”.

At the end of Saturday morning, Sister Ivone Goulart and Father Claudio Cartes led the session, “Weaving paths for the future: guidelines for the work of the Conferences/Regions”.

In the afternoon, the participants gathered by Conferences and Regions, meeting afterwards in the plenary session coordinated by Sister Ivone Goulart and Father Claudio Cartes. The day ended with the sending Eucharistic celebration presided over by the General Councilor for SDB Youth Ministry, Fr. Miguel Ángel García Morcuende.

On the last day (5/5), the participants experienced a fraternal cultural day, concluding the event with a guided tour of the city of Guadalajara.

Photos: Flickr ESA V

Inno ESA V

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